WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Midwestern State is the popular choice to claim a seventh Lone Star Conference cross country championship this fall according to the league's annual preseason poll of coaches, sports information directors and select media released Thursday afternoon.
The Mustangs return three all-conference performers off of last season's squad which claimed the LSC title placing each of five countable finishers in the Top 15 to total 51 points at the championship meet in Commerce.
Juniors Bridget Reilly, Sara Smith and Michelle Rieves claimed All-LSC accolades along with outgoing seniors Leticia Shaban and Ana Lopez.
The Mustangs have claimed two of the last three conference titles (2014 and 2016) after claiming the big trophy four consecutive years from 2008-11.
Other returners include senior Angela Dees; juniors April Pena, Natalie McLaurin, Kylee Gorney and Stefanie Blaine along with redshirt freshman Mercy Yermo.
Amerhyst Aguirre (Las Cruces, N.M.), Michelle Estrada (El Paso, Texas), Kayleigh Jarrett (Aberdeen, Scotland), Delaney Locke (Simi Valley, Calif.) and former soccer standout Nicole Coetzer are the newcomers.
The Mustangs received 19 of 25 first-place votes for a total of 217 points while Eastern New Mexico and West Texas A&M tied for second with matching totals of 181 points with three top votes each followed by Tarleton State (147), Texas A&M-Commerce (114), Angelo State (99), Western New Mexico (80), Texas A&M-Kingsville (73) and UT Permian Basin (33).
The Mustangs open the season at Abilene Christian's Bill Libby Invitational at Nelson Park on Sept. 1.
2017 LSC Womens' Cross Country Poll
1. MSU Mustangs - 217 pts (19 1st-place votes)
T2. Eastern New Mexico - 181 (3)
T2. West Texas A&M - 181 (3)
4. Tarleton State - 147
5. Texas A&M-Commerce - 114
6. Angelo State - 99
7. Western New Mexico - 80
8. Texas A&M-Kingsville - 73
9. UT-Permian Basin - 33