The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coaches Poll projects the Slippery Rock University women’s cross country team to finish fifth out of the sixteen teams in the conference this year.
The defending champion Shippensburg University received 12 of 16 first-place votes, making them the favorites to win the title again this year.
Edinboro University finished second in the poll, picking up the remaining four first-place votes.
Bloomsburg University and Mansfield University ranked third and fourth ahead of SRU.
The Rock’s own expectations for the season are high, and the athletes are aiming well above where the Coaches Poll has placed them.
Senior captain Abby Michaelian knows what the team is capable of and is setting the bar higher for her own performance, as well as the rest of the team.
“We always score higher than our seed predicts,” Michaelian said. “So this year we will definitely try and carry on that tradition and mindset.”
Senior Stephanie Case, who is coming off a successful season that landed her with All-PSAC honors, wants both the team and herself to improve this season.
“I want us to be in the top three at PSACs,” Case said. “I want to run under 21 minutes and qualify for Nationals.”
Case’s current personal best time clocks in at 21:24.
Other top returners are senior Kara Styles, sophomores Janine Powis, Ang Bagwell, and Brianna Harvey.
SRU has one of the largest rosters in the nation, made up of 45 girls, including 13 freshmen.
The Green and White will be starting their competitive season today at the Daniel Walker Invitational in Grand Island, N.Y.
This year, the PSAC meet is being held at the Rock’s home course of Cooper’s Lake Campground on October 20.