PORTSMOUTH – The Mid-South Conference coaches have selected Shawnee State's women's cross country team as the preseason favorite heading into the 2012 season. The Bears received 97 of a possible 100 points in the poll, including eight out of a possible 10 first-place votes. Coaches were not allowed to select their own teams in this poll. University of the Cumberlands (91 pts.) received two first-place votes, while Georgetown (79 pts.) received the final first-place vote.
Women's cross country is coming off back-to-back MSC titles on the women's side and return a pair of All-MSC performers from the conference meet a season ago. However, Shawnee State will also have to deal with the loss of three of its top-five finishers from the 2011 conference meet.
All-MSC runners Kasey Hosier (7th MSC, in 2011) and Ashlyn Howie (10th MSC in 2011) both return, but the Bears will have to replace second, fifth and 13th place finishes from the conference meet. In addition those two returning runners, Bri Tudor was also a top-five finisher on Shawnee's team in two races a season ago.
To cope with the losses due to graduation, head coach Eric Putnam, the reigning MSC Coach of the Year for both the men's and women's teams, has brought in 10 new runners for the women's team that will have the chance to make an immediate impact. The women's season gets underway with the 14th annual Shawnee State Invitational on August 31. The MSC Championship will be held on November 3 at the University of Rio Grande.
MSC Women's Cross Country Preseason Coaches' Poll
Voting Points (First-Place Votes)
Shawnee State University
University of the Cumberlands
University of Rio Grande
Lindsey Wilson College
University of Pikeville
St. Catharine College