Aug. 31, 2004
Receiving five first-place votes, the University of Tennessee women were picked by the league's coaches to repeat as champions in the 2004 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Preseason Poll.
The Lady Volunteers, directed by third-year Head Coach J.J. Clark, tallied 94 points to edge second-place Arkansas, which collected three first-place nods and accumulated 90 points. Georgia, with two first-place votes, was third at 85, followed by Vanderbilt (78) and Kentucky (62) in fourth and fifth. The remaining schools included Auburn and Florida (58), Mississippi State (44), Alabama (41), South Carolina (21), LSU (19), and Ole Miss (11). Points for the women's poll were awarded on a 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
"It's always nice to receive this kind of recognition on paper, but it's not going to help us win any races this season," Clark said. "We look forward to working hard and trying to defend our conference title on the course. That's where it really matters."
Tennessee returns 10 letterwinners, including All-SEC performers senior Brooke Novak, junior Megan Cauble and sophomore Mindy Sullivan, from a squad that won the program's first conference title in 13 years, claimed its second-straight NCAA South Region trophy and earned a 24th-place outcome at the NCAA Championship meet. In the process, that unit stopped a five-year league meet win streak by Arkansas, a school that has won 10 titles since joining the SEC in 1991.
Clark is the only coach to solve the Lady Razorbacks since their shift from the Southwest Conference, having won SEC crowns in 1996 and 1997 while directing the program at Florida and then the 2003 trophy as second-year skipper of the Lady Vols. He also owns runner-up finishes at UF in 1998 and 1999.
The Lady Vols open the 2004 campaign on Sept. 11, running in the Mel Brodt Invitational in Bowling Green, Ohio. The 2004 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships, hosted by the University of Arkansas, will be held Oct. 30 in Fayetteville.
SEC Women's Cross Country
2004 Preseason Coaches' Poll
|Pl.||Team (1st-Place Votes)||Pts.|