Commodores picked second in SEC preseason poll

Lily Williams is among the key returnees for the Commodores.
Aug. 20, 2014

With a deep and talented roster, the Vanderbilt women's cross country team is primed for a memorable season. And the SEC coaches have obviously noticed the Commodores' potential.

When the conference released its 2014 SEC Cross Country Preseason Coaches Poll on Wednesday morning, the Commodores were picked to finish second, behind only defending champion Arkansas.

The Razorbacks received 13 first-place votes and Vanderbilt received one. (Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team).

Vanderbilt head coach Steve Keith said he was pleased to see the Commodores projected to do so well, although he doesn't put a lot of stock in it.

"It's an honor, in a way, and it's certainly nice to be recognized," said Keith, "but now it's up to us to follow through. We have to put in the work, and then go out and perform well on a conference, regional and national level. The preseason rankings and predictions don't mean much in the big picture."

The conference's coaches also picked Arkansas to repeat as champions on the men's side. The Vanderbilt men were picked 13th.

The Commodores open the season next week, participating in the Belmont Opener at Percy Warner Park on Aug. 29.

Vanderbilt's women finished fifth at the SEC Championships last season, then earned a second-place finish at the NCAA South Regional and advanced to the NCAA Championships for the third straight year.

The Commodores have a long list of key returnees, including seniors Claire Benjamin, Rebecca Chandler, Amira Joseph and Grace Orders; juniors Sara Barron, Katherine Delaney, Hannah Jumper and Vanessa Valentine; sophomores Reagan Anderson, Carmen Carlos and Lily Williams. Also helping bolster the roster is three touted newcomers: Emma Abrahamson, Megan Huebner and Maddie Criscione.

"We have all the pieces," said assistant coach Rhonda Riley. "It's just a matter of coming together and getting it done. And we believe we have a group that is very committed to working together at a very high, successful level."

Vanderbilt's men roster also includes a long list of key returnees, including seniors Andrew Bachman, Matthew Cleveland and John Ewing; juniors Andrew Fix and Nick French; and sophomore Jake Van Geffen.

2014 SEC Cross Country Coaches Preseason Poll
(parenthesis indicate first-place votes)

Rank Team Points
1 - Arkansas (13) 13
2 - Vanderbilt (1) 34
3 - Texas A&M 39
4 - Florida 58
5 - Alabama 65
6 - Miss. St. 72
7 - Missouri 79
8 - Kentucky 99
9 - Georgia 104
10 - Tennessee 116
11 - Ole Miss 135
12 - Auburn 142
13 - South Carolina 152
14 - LSU 166

Rank Team Points
1 - Arkansas (10) 16
2 - Florida 27
3 - Ole Miss (3) 42
4 - Missouri 51
5 - Auburn 59
6 - Texas A&M 63
7 - Georgia 77
8 - Kentucky 79
9 - Alabama 101
10 - Miss. St. 107
11 - Tennessee 115
12 - LSU 136
13 - Vanderbilt 141

NOTE: Points for the men's poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 basis, while the women's poll was awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13 basis. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.


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