ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville Men's Cross Country team was picked fifth, while the women's squad was selected sixth in the Big South Conference Preseason Poll that was released on Thursday.
"We hope to finish a little higher than where we're predicted," commented Bulldog coach Jesse Norman. "However, we have a lot of work to do before the Big South Conference Meet."
Both the Liberty men's and women's teams were selected to finish in first place again this year.
The Flames, who are looking to win their sixth-straight Big South Men's Cross Country title, were a unanimous selection for the top spot with 100 points in the voting. Liberty, led by 2009 National Champion Sam Chelanga, finished ahead of High Point, which picked up 90 points. The Panthers placed three runners in the top 10 to finish second at the 2009 Big South Championship. In third-place was VMI with 79 points, followed by Coastal Carolina's 65 points and UNC Asheville's 59 points to round out the top five. Winthrop received 54 points to land in the No. 6 slot, while Gardner-Webb garnered 35 points for the seventh position. Coming in at No. 8 was Charleston Southern with 32 points, followed by Radford with 27 points. Presbyterian College rounded out the voting for the men with 11 points.
After capturing the 2009 women's crown, the Lady Flames tallied seven top votes and 97 out of a possible 100 points to win the 2010 crown. Coastal Carolina was second in the women's preseason poll with two No. 1 votes and 85 points. The Chanticleers posted two All-Conference runners to finish third in the Big South Championship a year ago. Voted in third was VMI with one top bid and 83 points, ahead of High Point with 74 points. Winthrop totaled 58 points to finish fifth, followed by UNC Asheville with 50 points and Radford with 35 points. At the No. 8 slot was Gardner-Webb who collected 33 points, while Charleston Southern (20 points) and Presbyterian College (14 points) completed the voting for the women.
The Bulldog harriers open the 2010 season at the Western Carolina Invitational on Sept. 3.