LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant men's cross country team has been picked second, while the women's team was selected third, as the conference released its preseason coaches' polls on Wednesday afternoon.
The programs, under the direction of seventh-year head coach Katie Stanford, open up competition on Sept. 1 at the Georgia NCAA Division III Invitational at Berry College.
The men's team collected 85 total points to sit in second place in their poll. Piedmont, the reigning conference meet champion, garnered four first-place votes and 93 overall points to claim the preseason favorite. League newcomer Berea had the most first place votes with six, but finished third overall in the voting with 76 points. Methodist (74 points) and Maryville (68 points) rounded out the top five selections.
On the women's side, Covenant tallied 183 points for a third place finish. Defending conference champion Piedmont is the preseason favorite as the Lions received five first-place votes and 211 total points. Like on the men's side, Berea got nine first-place votes but finished second with 187 points. Meredith (179 points) and Methodist (177 points) completed the top five.
Brevard and Pfeiffer are both new members of the league as well, however neither is eligible for the conference championship due to their reclassification from NCAA Division II.
The USA South Cross Country Championship will be held at TFS Farms in Tallulah Falls, Ga., hosted by Piedmont on Saturday, Oct. 29. The women's 6k race is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. while the men's 8k race is scheduled to begin at noon.
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