Sun Belt Releases Preseason Cross Country Polls, Chants Open Season Saturday
NEW ORLEANS - The Coastal Carolina University women's cross country program was selected to finish second while the men's program was picked to finish eighth in the Sun Belt Conference's annual preseason poll, announced Thursday.
The Chanticleers men's and women's programs will open the 2017 season this Saturday (Sept. 2) at the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia. Coastal's first -- and only -- home meet, the Fleet Feet CCU Invitational, is set for the following week (Friday, Sept. 8) at the Hackler Course on CCU's campus.
The Chanticleer women finished second at the Sun Belt Championship last season, their first year in the league, and return defending individual champion Annie Bothma, who made it to NCAA finals. The men return Hutson Baumann, the top finisher in all meets from last year's squad that finished tenth at the conference meet.
Both defending Sun Belt champions, the UTA men and Appalachian State women, were picked to repeat as conference champions in the preseason cross country polls announced on Thursday.
The polls are a result of a vote of the league's 10 men's cross country and 12 women's cross country head coaches.
UTA aims for a third consecutive men's cross country conference title this season, and its fourth in the past five years. The Mavericks earned nine first-place votes with the other first-place vote going to Louisiana.
Appalachian State won its first ever Sun Belt women's cross country title last year. The Mountaineers garnered eight first-place votes while Coastal Carolina earned the other four.
The 2017 Sun Belt Conference Cross Country Championships are set for Saturday, Oct. 28 and will be hosted by Appalachian State University.
Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll (first place votes)
UTA (9) -- 99 points
Louisiana (1) -- 89 points
Texas State -- 71 points
Appalachian State -- 67 points
South Alabama -- 59 points
Arkansas State -- 52 points
Little Rock -- 36 points
Coastal Carolina -- 33 points
Troy -- 26 points
ULM -- 16 points
Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll (first place votes)
Appalachian State (8) -- 140 points
Coastal Carolina (4) -- 122 points
UTA -- 106 points
South Alabama -- 100 points
Arkansas State -- 89 points
Georgia State -- 85 points
Texas State -- 75 points
Louisiana -- 61 points
Georgia Southern -- 56 points
Troy -- 40 points
Little Rock -- 37 points
ULM -- 23 points