MACON, Ga. – The Atlantic Sun preseason cross country polls were announced, Wednesday, with the Bison and Lady Bison squads poised for big years. The women’s team was picked to finish second, while the men’s team was chosen seventh.
The Lady Bisons were picked second behind defending champion North Florida, garnering two of the 10 first-place votes and 92 points total, just behind the Ospreys total of 98.
“Our women were second last year,” said Lipscomb head coach Bill Taylor. “With North Florida returning everyone from their championship team, and adding more talent, they’re definitely the top team coming in.”
The women’s squad returns sophomore Danielle Walker, who was the Atlantic Sun’s Female Freshman of the Year for the 2010 cross country season. She finished fourth, the best finish ever by a Lady Bison, in the 2010 A-Sun Cross Country Championships.
She was joined on the All-Freshman team and as an all-conference representative by Alex Newby, who finished 13th at last year’s A-Sun Championships.
Senior Ashley Lehman was also second-team all-conference last season after an 11th-place run. Senior Louisa Van Batavia was also a top-20 performer last year, finishing 19th.
“We are fortunate to return a lot of talent and to add very talented girls to our roster,” said Taylor. “With the whole conference getting stronger on the women’s side, it’s going to be a very fun season.”
On the men’s side, two-time defending champion Kennesaw State was picked to make it a three-peat, garnering nine of 10 first-place votes and 99 points. Belmont took the lone other first-place vote, finishing second with 82 points.
The men’s squad finished ninth at last year’s A-Sun Championships, and return their top six finishers from a year ago. Among those is all-conference performer Geoff Musick, who was 13th at last year’s A-Sun Championships.
“The men have a lot of work to do,” said Taylor. “We did not compete well at conference last year. They have some motivation to show that they are better than that performance and better than their ranking. We have a great opportunity to up this season and move the program forward.”
The cross country teams will open the season Friday, Sept. 2, in the Belmont Opener at Percy Warner Park.