Wednesday, August 22, 2012
MACON, Ga. - Defending champion Lipscomb garnered all 10 first place votes to easily top the Preseason Atlantic Sun Conference Women's Cross Country coaches poll. Jacksonville standout Joanne Pierre claimed Preseason Runner of the Year honors and also earned the fan's choice Preseason Runner of the Year after a vote on Facebook.
The Lady Bisons top the poll for good reason, returning four of its top-five finishers from last year's conference championship. All-Atlantic Sun selections Tessa Hoefle and Minna Fields each posted a top-10 finish and 2010 Freshman of the Year Dani Walker is on pace from a full recovery after missing last year's championship with a leg injury.
While Lipscomb was racking up first-place votes, North Florida claimed every second place vote. The Ospreys won the 2010 team title and are paced by seniors Shelby Kittrell and Meggie Emons. Long-time SEC coach Jeff Pigg will take over the reins at UNF this fall. River City rival Jacksonville checked in the poll in third place led by Pierre and fellow all-conference performer Svenja Meyer.
Mercer's Kacie Niemann is the only other returning All-Atlantic Sun runner from last year and has Mercer poised for a top-four finish at the conference championship. FGCU rounded out the top-five in the coaches poll.
The conference championship will be hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University on Saturday, October 27.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, Northern Kentucky University, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.