Juniors Terrill Zentmeyer (left) and Kat Bouton (right) are two of the top returnees on the 2015 Liberty women's cross country team.
The Liberty women's cross country team, which finished second at the 2014 Big South Cross Country Championships, has been tabbed for the same placement in 2015 by the league's head coaches.
A tight battle is expected atop the team standings, as the top three teams were separated by just four points in the voting. Defending champion High Point is the preseason conference favorite by one point, earning six of 11 first-place votes and 109 total points.
Head coach Brant Tolsma's Lady Flames follow closely with two first-place nods and 108 points, while Coastal Carolina is listed third with the three remaining first-place votes and 105 points.
Campbell (fourth place, 84 points), UNC Asheville (fifth, 76), Radford (sixth, 71), Winthrop (seventh, 57), Gardner-Webb (eighth, 44), Longwood (ninth, 30), Charleston Southern (10th, 28) and Presbyterian (11th, 14) round out the preseason rankings.
Liberty, which has recorded 11 consecutive Big South top-two finishes, returns three of its top five runners from the 2014 conference championship. Junior Jessie Proehl placed 14th a year ago, followed by classmates Terrill Zentmeyer (20th) and Kat Bouton (23rd).
Ednah Kurgat will compete in cross country for the Lady Flames for the first time this fall, after being named 2015 Big South Women's Freshman of the Year for both indoor and outdoor track & field. She is one of 12 newcomers on this year's Liberty women's cross country roster.
Liberty will begin the 2015 campaign at the UVa Duals, slated for Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va.
Presbyterian will host the 2015 Big South Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships at the Milliken Research Park in Spartanburg, S.C., on Oct. 31. The Lady Flames will aim for their ninth conference title and first since 2012.
2015 Big South Conference Preseason Women's Cross Country Poll 1) High Point (6 first-place votes) – 109 points 2) Liberty (2) – 108 3) Coastal Carolina (3) – 105 4) Campbell – 84 5) UNC Asheville – 76 6) Radford – 71 7) Winthrop – 57 8) Gardner-Webb – 44 9) Longwood – 30 10) Charleston Southern – 28 11) Presbyterian – 14
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