Junior Holly Archer
NEW ORLEANS (SMU/USTFCCCA) – The SMU women’s cross country team is ranked 22nd in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason poll, the website announced on Tuesday. The Mustangs are also ranked second in the South Central Region.
SMU has won five of the last six conference championships, including the 2013 American Athletic Conference championship in the league’s inaugural season. The Mustangs were the only school from The American ranked in the top 30.
The preseason ranking is an improvement on last year’s finish, as the Mustangs finished 31st in the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Michigan was tabbed as the early favorite for the 2014 campaign, grabbing six of the 12 first-place votes. The Wolverines finished fourth at the NCAA Championships a year ago. Coming in behind Michigan was No. 2 Oregon, who received three first-place votes. Florida State, Georgetown and Stanford rounded out the top five. Returning NCAA Champion Providence fell all the way to 18th in the rankings. Arkansas, the only team ranked ahead of SMU in the South Central Region, earned one first-place vote and is ranked seventh.
In 2013, the Mustangs captured the UTA Invitational and the North Texas Invitational crowns in addition to winning the AAC Championship.
SMU is coached by Cathy Casey, who is entering her 10th season as SMU’s head coach. They return four all-conference performers from 2013 in junior Holly Archer, sophomore Agnes Sjöström, junior Karoline Skatteboe and junior Melanie Stemper. Sjöström and junior Shanoah Souza were also named to the all-region team.
SMU opens its season on Friday, Aug. 29 with the Bear Twilight Invitational, hosted by Baylor, at 7 p.m. CT in Waco, Texas. The Mustangs finished second in the meet a year ago.