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Cross Country Earns Spots In USTFCCCA Preseason Polls

Monday, August 29, 2011
by Colby Wilson

NEW ORLEANS, La. –The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association released the preseason cross country regional polls, and Lipscomb’s men and women’s squads earned high rankings. The men’s squad was ranked 13th in the South Region, while the women were awarded a top-10 spot, ranked 10th by the coaches.

On the women’s side, Florida State was ranked first in the South Region by the coaches; the Seminoles, along with Florida and Vanderbilt, remained in the top-three just as the final poll from last season indicated.

Among Atlantic Sun squads in the South region, Lipscomb was just behind North Florida (ninth) and ahead of nearby Belmont (15th).

“I feel like our women are far better than 10th and I tend to think of us as a top-five squad,” said Lipscomb head coach Bill Taylor. “Unless every team in the region is significantly better than last year, I don’t see us dropping a spot [from last season’s ending ranking of ninth].

"We return our top five from last season, three of which were freshmen, and had a big development in our distance runners during track season. We’ve also added a very talented freshman class.  We’re deeper, stronger and more talented than ever. The first two weeks of practice have been eye-opening."

The men’s squad is ranked 13th in the South, behind A-Sun programs Kennesaw State (eighth), North Florida (10th) and Belmont (11th). Florida State, Florida and Georgia make up the top three in the South, while last season’s No. 1 squad Alabama comes in fourth.

“I really like what I’ve seen so far from our men in practice,” said Taylor. “This year they seem to be more united in purpose and have higher expectations. They are working hard and should be better than last year. I don’t know how much better, but it will be fun to find out.”

The season gets under way, Friday, with the Belmont Opener at Percy Warner Park. The women’s four-kilometer race begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men’s 5K at 6 p.m.

“Preseason rankings are unpredictable,” said Taylor. “It all sorts itself out during the season. We’ll find out more Friday in the season’s first race.”