Aug. 25, 2011
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Southeastern Conference released its 2011 Cross Country Coaches Preseason Polls Thursday. In voting by the league's skippers, the Tennessee men have been predicted to finish fifth, while the Lady Vols are projected to place ninth at the SEC Championship meet.
The Vols, who wound up fourth at the SEC meet last season, tallied 52 points to match their preseason pick of fifth from 2010. Arkansas will carry the favorite's label, netting eight first-place votes and 12 total points. The defending champion Razorbacks are followed by Alabama (20/three first-place votes), Florida (29) and Georgia (34) in the top four.
The Lady Vols, who struggled to 12th a year ago at the SEC meet, garnered 88 poll points to check in ninth in the 2011 women's preseason poll. Two-time defending champ Florida had six votes for the top spot to five for Arkansas, so the Gators will remain atop the proceedings with 17 points. Arkansas was second with 18, followed by Vanderbilt (30/one first-place vote), Georgia (41) and Mississippi State (58) rounding out the top five.
Points for the men's poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 basis, while the women's poll was awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11 basis. The 2011 SEC Cross Country Championships, hosted this season by Tennessee, will be held Oct. 31 at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville.
J.J. Clark's Vols and Lady Vols begin the 2011 campaign in Nashville on Sept. 2, as they take part in the Belmont-Vanderbilt Opener at Percy Warner Park. All-South Region honoree Chris Bodary and 2010 SEC All-Freshman Team members Jake Rainey and Daniel Tobin are the top returning men for UT, while two-time All-SEC and All-South Region runner Brittany Sheffey as well as Amber Zimmerman and Chanelle Price head up the women's squad.