Dec. 5, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For the second straight season, the Coastal Carolina women's indoor track & field team has been picked first in the Big South Conference's preseason poll, which was released on Thursday.
The Chanticleers, who dethroned Liberty last season to win their sixth Big South championship, were tabbed as nearly unanimous favorites to repeat, receiving nine of a possible 10 first-place votes from the conference's indoor track head coaches. Coastal totaled 99 points in the poll, ahead of second-place Liberty, which had 91 points and the other first-place vote. Charleston Southern (75 points) was third, Gardner-Webb (62 points) took fourth and Campbell (60 points) finished out the top five.
Once again, Coastal will compete in one December meet before beginning the bulk of its schedule in late January. The Chants will participate in the JDL College Kick-Off Classic this Saturday, Dec. 7 at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C.
A total of 19 Coastal athletes will participate in 11 different sprints, hurdles, jumps and relay events in the single-day meet, which begins at 9:30 a.m.
Despite the loss of NCAA All-American Erica Peake to graduation, the Chants return 10 athletes who earned All-Big South honors at last season's conference meet, with half of them set to participate on Saturday. Among the individual events, Kelila Naules will compete in the long jump, triple jump and 300 meters, Teka Simpson will be a part in the high jump and 60-meter dash and Ashley Davis will run in the 60-meter hurdles. Symphony Thompson, who along with Simpson earned honorable mention All-American honors in relays during this past outdoor season, is scheduled to compete in the 300 meters.
Additionally, six athletes in the Chanticleers' nine-member recruting class, which includes five state high school champions, are set to make their collegiate debuts this weekend. Leah Fair (60 and 400 meters), Christal Green (400 meters), Kaila Smith (500 meters), Olivia Coopwood (500 meters), Imani Boatwright (800 meters) and Emma Kroger (pole vault) will compete as Chanticleers for the first time. Smith was the South Carolina Track Athlete of the Year, while Fair, Green and Boatwright also won state titles at the high school level.
"We are looking forward to opening up the indoor season," head coach Alan Connie said. "The team has been working very hard in practice and our athletes are anxious to go head to head with other teams. We look forward to the opportunity to defend our Big South Championship. We have several talented freshmen and it will be exciting to see them open up their college careers."
2013-14 Big South Conference Women's Preseason Indoor Track & Field Poll
1. Coastal Carolina (9 first-place votes) - 99 points
2. Liberty (1 first-place vote) - 91
3. Charleston Southern - 75
4. Gardner-Webb - 62
5. Campbell - 60
6. High Point - 55
7. Radford - 32
UNC Asheville - 32
9. Winthrop - 23
10. VMI - 21