Cross Country: Preseason No. 24 Ranking

  • By Daniel Whitehead
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  • August 31, 2011 10:08 AM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With a bevy of experienced runners, the West Virginia cross country team enters the 2011 season ranked No. 24 nationally in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches of America (USTFCCCA) preseason poll released Tuesday afternoon.

Having qualified two individuals to the NCAA Championships last season and with three redshirt seniors coming back for 2011, the Mountaineers will look to improve on their fifth-place finishes at the BIG EAST Championships and NCAA Mid-Atlantic regional from a year ago.

“This is a very good place for this group to start,” says WVU coach Sean Cleary. “Most coaches will talk about how preseason rankings are meaningless. I feel that we will continue to do what we need to do in order to be ready for the championship portion of the schedule. If we do things properly, I have a feeling that we will not end the year ranked No. 24.”

BIG EAST foes Georgetown (1), Providence (3) and Villanova (5) lead the conference heading into the season as five league teams were picked in the preseason Top 25, including Syracuse (15) and West Virginia. NCAA Mid-Atlantic region programs Penn State (18) and Princeton (22) were also registered in the preseason poll. The Hoyas were given the top nod for the first time in school history. The BIG EAST, Big Ten, and Pac-12 each have five teams in the poll.

In the regional rankings, the Mountaineers registered at No. 5 in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic region behind Georgetown, Villanova, Penn State and Princeton.

In addition to 2010 All-American Kaitlyn Gillespie and NCAA participant Sarah-Anne Brault, redshirt seniors Kaylyn Christopher, Jessica O’Connell and Kate Harrison return for their final seasons prepared to make a run for a BIG EAST title and qualify as a team for the NCAA Championships.

In 2011, the Mountaineers will seek a Top 10 national finish for the fourth time in five years.

Following two weeks of competition, the next USTFCCCA poll will be released Sept. 13.


Sean Cleary, WVU Cross Country

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