JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) – The Arkansas State University women's cross country team was selected as the favorites to win the 2013 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Championship in voting results of the conference's preseason coaches poll, which was released this Thursday (Aug. 29) by the league office.
Arkansas State, which is ranked 10th in the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA Division I 2013 Preseason Women's Cross Country South Central Region Rankings, received seven of the 10 first-place votes while registering a conference-best 95 points. The Red Wolves, who are coached by Jim Patchell and Kyle Chandler, have nine letterwinners back from 2012 and are led by All-SBC First-Team and All-NCAA South Central Region runner Kristina Aubert.
"Our women's team has been consistently one of the top teams in the conference the past three years and we should continue with that this year," said Patchell. "We have most of last year's team returning and are looking forward to getting started this weekend. It's nice to be recognized in preseason predictions but we have to remember those are just predictions. There's a lot of work to be done between now and the conference championships."
A season ago, the A-State women's team was forecast to finish second in the conference's preseason poll and would go on to post a program-record ninth-place finish at the 2012 NCAA-I South Central Regional Championships. Arkansas State also turned in its highest finish ever at the Sun Belt Conference meet with a second-place 58 points total among the 12 conference participating teams.
The Red Wolves open the 2013 season this Saturday (Aug. 31) night at the 5K Memphis (Tenn.) Twilight Classic. The 2013 Sun Belt Conference Championships will be held on Nov. 2 in Troy, Ala., with Troy University serving as the host institution.
2013 Sun Belt Conference Cross Country Preseason Coaches' Poll
Women – Points (First-Place Votes)
1. Arkansas State – 95 pts. (7)
2. Georgia State – 86 pts. (2)
3. UT-Arlington – 76 pts. (1)
4. Western Kentucky – 67 pts.
5. South Alabama – 66 pts.
6. UALR – 48 pts.
7. Texas State – 37 pts.
8. Louisiana-Lafayette – 31 pts.
9. Troy – 30 pts.
10. ULM – 14 pts