Women's Cross Country tabbed 12th in preseason national poll

Women's Cross Country tabbed 12th in preseason national poll
The U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association released its preseason regional and national polls where University of Southern Indiana Women's Cross Country is tabbed third in the Midwest Region and 12th in the national poll.
Head Coach Mike Hillyard enters his 22nd season at the helm of the Screaming Eagles, leading the men's team to 13 consecutive Great Lakes Valley Conference titles and 14 of the last 15 titles. The women's team has compiled nine of the last 10 GLVC championships, including the previous seven.
The women's squad returns 2017 NCAA Championship qualifier in senior Hope Jones (Cumberland, Indiana) after graduating five of the top seven runners in last year's NCAA Midwest Regional team. Sophomore Jennifer Comastri (Indianapolis, Indiana) and junior Ellie Tjelmeland (Springfield, Illinois) hope to fill key spots in the 2018 campaign.
This year's freshman class will feature many decorated distance athletes starting with Haley Barker(Boonville, Indiana), who is coming off three appearances at the IHSAA Cross Country Championships and two appearances at the IHSAA Track & Field Championships in her career at Boonville High School.
 "I never put much stock in national rankings, but it is a nice show of respect for our programs to start the season with both programs ranked in the top 12. National rankings don't give you a bye and come with no guarantees. We will continue to prepare to the best of our abilities between now and December to make sure that we are ready when it matters."
  • USI has been ranked a total of 59 times in the USTFCCCA poll, reaching as high as second
  • USI is the lone GLVC member ranked in the top 10 of the Midwest Region
  • USI started the 2017 regular season ranked 2nd, their highest ranking in the region before finishing 5th in the final poll
  • The women's squad comes off a first-place GLVC Championship last year with 36 total points, 2 points ahead of second-place Bellarmine University
  • The Eagles also were the top GLVC finisher in the 2017 Midwest Regional last year with a fifth-place finish

USI opens the season September 14 at Angel Mounds when it hosts the annual Stegemoller Classic. The Eagles are on the road for two consecutive meets--September 19 for the Greater Louisville Classic at EP "Tom" Sawyer State Park and October 6 for the Conference Crossover in Romeoville, Illinois--before hosting the Festival Year Fiasco October 20 at Angel Mounds.
The Eagles travel back to Louisville for the GLVC Championships November 3, before traveling to Hillsdale, Michigan, for the NCAA II Midwest Regional. The NCAA II National Championships are December 1 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and be part of the Division II Fall Festival.

Courtesy: USI Athletics