ROCK HILL, S.C. – The South Atlantic Conference announced the men's and women's cross country preseason rankings on Wednesday morning.
The Carson-Newman men's cross country team was voted to finish in eighth place with 35 total points, while the women's team was voted into sixth place with 56 total votes.
"I think that is fair based on where we finished last season," Carson-Newman cross country coach Tyler Stepp said. "We finished eighth last year at conference, but the poll does not take into account some of the new guys that we brought in."
The women's cross country team is coming off of a top-five finish at the SAC championships while the men finished last season with an eighth place showing at the championships.
"I think that it's probably fair," Stepp said. "Our conference is pretty tough right now and I think that there can be a little bit of variability in there. I think that we can do a little bit better than that and I hope that we do. We have a strong core of girls, and I do believe that they will get better, and if they do then we should exceed expectations."
Both squads are returning their top runners for the upcoming seasons. The men return Luke Greer (Northampton, United Kingdom), Amos Korir (Eldoret, Kenya), Rafael Adame, and Anthony Jackson (Manchester, Tenn.).
In the women's cross country poll Queens was voted first place after winning the conference last season. The Royals received nine first-place votes and 99 total points to lead the league.
Wingate and Anderson were voted second and third respectively and each earned a first-place vote for the upcoming season. Catawba and Lenoir-Rhyne rounded out the top-five in the polls.
Lincoln Memorial, Mars Hill, and Tusculum were voted to finish seventh through ninth in the conference directly behind Carson-Newman. Coker and Newberry round out the bottom of polls with 21 and 14 total points.
In the men's cross country poll Mars Hill was voted first-place after winning the conference last season. The Lions received 98 total points and eight first-place votes to lead the conference.
Queens was picked to finish second with 93 total points and was the only other team to receive first-place votes. Anderson, Lincoln Memorial, and Wingate round out the top-five teams in the conference.
Catawba and Lenoir-Rhyne tied for sixth place with 51-total points. Coker, Tusculum, and Newberry rounded out the league in the bottom three slots on the poll.
The Eagles cross country team will open the season on Friday, September 1 at the Tusculum open, in Greenville, Tenn.