XC: Men favored, women picked third in Sun Belt preseason poll
Aug 30, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas - The UT Arlington men's cross country team is favored to win the Sun Belt Conference championship in its inaugural season, while the women's squad is predicted to finish third according to the 2013 Cross Country Coaches Preseason Poll announced by the league office.
"Polls are a nice way to motivate your teams, but they do not give you a trophy for it," head coach John Sauerhage said. "We appreciate the recognition for both teams, and we look forward to competing in the Sun Belt Conference meet in November."
The Mavericks, in their first year of competition in the Sun Belt, earned nine of 10 first-place votes. UTA enters the campaign looking for back-to-back league titles for the first time in school history after winning the Western Athletic Conference championship in 2012. UT Arlington is ranked ninth in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason poll.
UTA, which earned 95 of a possible 100 points in the voting, returns four all-conference performers from a year ago. Sophomores Virgilio Martinez and Craig Lautenslager were first-team All-WAC recipients in 2012, while juniors Emil Blomberg and Ryan Tilotta claimed second-team accolades.
The other first-place vote on the men's side went to the UALR Trojans (91 points), the defending SBC champions. UALR is predicted to finish second, while South Alabama is picked to finish third. WKU, which was third in last year's championship, and Louisiana-Lafayette round out the top five predicted finishers. Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas State, Texas State and Troy fill out teams six through nine.
The UT Arlington women totaled 76 points and earned one first-place vote to finish behind only Arkansas State (95) and Georgia State (86). The Mavericks return all of their participants from last year's squad, which finished fifth in the WAC with a roster consisting of only freshmen and sophomores. Junior Hannah Nilsson figures to pace the squad again this year.
Arkansas State claimed seven first place votes, while Georgia State, last season's women's conference champions, earned two first-place votes and came in second in the poll. WKU edged South Alabama for fourth place while UALR and Texas State are predicted to finish sixth and seventh respectively. Louisiana-Lafayette topped Troy for eighth while Louisiana-Monroe rounded out the preseason poll.
UTA will start its season on Saturday, Sept. 14 when it hosts the UTA Season Opener. It will be contested at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie.
The Sun Belt Conference Cross Country Championships will take place on Nov. 2 on the campus of Troy University. Following the Sun Belt Championship, the NCAA South Central Regional event takes place on Nov. 15 in Waco, Texas. The NCAA Championships are on Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind.
2013 SBC Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll (First Place Votes)
1. UT Arlington (9) - 95 points
2013 SBC Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll (First Place Votes)