FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas women’s cross country team was picked to finish second in the Southeastern Conference, according to Thursday’s release of the 2011 SEC preseason coaches’ poll by the league office.
"We’re real excited about this year’s crew," head coach Lance Harter said. "We have the unique combination of experience with four seniors leading the way and we have some very talented freshmen. That makes for a lethal combination because the freshmen are still able to be shaped while our upperclassmen provide the experience and leadership."
Arkansas finished second by one point at last season’s SEC Cross Country Championship in Columbia, S.C. The Razorbacks return three all-conference performers from 2010 with first-team member Stephanie Brown, second teamer Kristen Gillespie and all-freshman selection Grace Heymsfield.
Arkansas closed out its team season at the NCAA South Central regional with a third-place finish. For her work throughout the season and at the conference meet, Brown was named the 2010 SEC Freshman Runner of the Year.
The top spot in the preseason poll went to two-time defending champion Florida which earned six first-place votes and 17 points, compared to the five first-place nods and 18 points for the Razorbacks. Vanderbilt was third with 30 total points and the remaining first-place vote. Georgia and Mississippi State rounded out the top five, respectively. The women’s standings were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11 basis.
The 2011 SEC Cross Country Championship, hosted by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, will be held Oct. 31. Arkansas opens its 2011 season Sept. 2 with a dual meet with Missouri Southern at Agri Park. Following the conference meet in Tennessee, the championship season continues Nov. 12 with the NCAA Regional in Waco, Texas, and comes to a close Nov. 21 with the NCAA Championship in Terre Haute, Ind.
For more information regarding Razorback cross country or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
2011 SEC Women’s Cross Country Coaches’ Poll1.Florida (6) – 172.Arkansas (5) – 183.Vanderbilt (1) – 304.Georgia – 415.Mississippi State – 586.Alabama – 667.Kentucky – 768.Ole Miss – 879.Tennessee – 8810.Auburn – 9511.South Carolina – 10312.LSU – 113
Download: 2011 SEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.pdf