PORTSMOUTH — The women’s cross country team at Shawnee State University was selected to finish third in the Mid-South Conference Preseason Poll, according to a release put out by conference officials on Thursday.
Cumberlands, Ky., which notched 119 points and nine first-place votes to be picked as the preseason favorite, was the only team selected ahead of Shawnee State.
The Bears notched 105 points and three first-place votes to keep the heat on the Patriots, while Campbellsville finished just two points back of SSU in third.
Lindsey Wilson (88 points) and Cumberland, Tenn. (81 points) rounded out the top five.
Thomas More’s 73 points put the Saints in sixth-place — while Life, Ga. (56 points), Bethel, Tenn. (54 points) and Georgetown, Ky. (49 points) comprised the teams in seventh, eighth and ninth.
Tennessee-Southern (29 tallies), Freed-Hardeman (23 tabs) and Pikeville (11 notches) rounded out the poll.
From the women’s standpoint, the Bears return a great deal from a unit that has qualified for the NAIA National Championships in each season — as a team — for the last 11 seasons and 12 of the last 13.
Shawnee State returns first-team all-MSC runner Jozi Brown; second-team all-MSC runner Deanna Hall; and Mckenna Pannell, who finished as a meet runner-up in two separate events during the 2020 portion of the schedule.
Marissa Smith, a first-team all-MSC runner in 2018, is also back after dealing with injuries that cut her 2020 season short.
Along with that quartet — Mikella Meddock, Graci Davis and Gina Van Lieu all return to the women’s roster for the upcoming year.
Sydnie Jenkins, who ran for the track and field program when she wasn’t playing soccer, will now make the switch to full-time running beginning this fall — while Haley Wright, Emma Marshall and Abbi McKinney round out the women’s newcomers.
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