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Women's Cross Country Opens Season on Friday

The Coastal Carolina women's cross country team has been tabbed second in the Big South Conference preseason poll behind Liberty as announced by the conference office. The Chants received two first place votes in the poll.

Senior Shelby Donahue garnered All-Big South honors in 2009.

Senior Shelby Donahue garnered All-Big South honors in 2009.

Aug. 31, 2010

CONWAY, S.C.- The Coastal Carolina women's cross country team has been tabbed second in the Big South Conference preseason poll behind Liberty as announced by the conference office. The Chants received two first place votes in the poll.

This fall, the Chanticleers will be vying for the program's 13th Big South Cross Country Championship under head coach Alan Connie. The first championship was won in 1988 and the most recent in 2008.

This season the Chants return five runners from last year's team that placed third at the Big South Championship meet. Of the five, senior Shelby Donahue, junior Christina Johnson, and sophomore Janel Reeves have previously earned all-conference recognition.

In addition to the returnees, coaching veteran Connie welcomes in five new faces to the program in the form of four freshmen and one graduate student.

The freshmen class includes Seanna Kautz, Emily Marchini, Shelby Nicosia, and Stephanie Taylor, each of whom have competed at the state championship level while in high school.

"The all of the four incoming freshmen have strong backgrounds in track and cross country," said Connie. "I am excited to see what they are capable of doing on the collegiate stage."

Graduate student Jamie Brusa has one year of athletic eligibility left after spending four years at the University of Illinois where she earned a bachelor's degree in integrative biology. While competing with Illinois, Brusa was a top five runner throughout her career and was tabbed as an Academic All-Big Ten selection in 2009.

"Jamie brings a lot of positives to our team," said Connie. "She has competed in big meets before and can bring that experience to Coastal Carolina where she can share her knowledge with our team. Jamie has put in a strong summer of training and is poised to make an impact on the Big South Conference."

The Chanticleers will face tough challenges this season as they will travel to some of the top meets in the country throughout the fall. The most challenging meet of the season stands to be the Roy Griak Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota as thirteen of the nations top 25 teams plan to compete in the event. In addition, the Chants will make their first ever visit to the Walt Disney World Classic on October 9.

The Chanticleers will open the season on Friday at the Gamecock Open hosted by the University of South Carolina.

"We are looking forward to competing in the Gamecock Open against some of the bigger universities in the state, like Clemson and South Carolina," said Connie. "It will be nice to compete against top competition after three weeks of preseason training."

Fans, don't forget to check back with GoCCUSports.com for full event recaps and results following each meet.