USTFCCCA Release | MVC Preseason Poll
By Tyler Wooten
NEW ORLEANS -- Following a conference championship last fall the Saluki women's cross country team enters the 2014 season ranked fourth in the Midwest Region, the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced Monday in its preseason rankings.
Fourth is the highest regional ranking for either gender at SIU since the regional rankings started to be archived in 2009. The Saluki women return all seven of its fastest members from 2013, including three All-MVC performers in senior Sadie Darnell and juniors Kristen Levi and Kelley Gallagher. Levi and Gallagher helped propel Southern to its highest-ever finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional last fall, where the Saluki women finished fourth on the backs of their 20th and 21st-place finishes, respectively.
The Saluki men also landed within the top-15, earning a ranking of 11th from the USTFCCCA. On the men's side, SIU returns two All-MVC competitors from their second-straight MVC title in 2013 in Oscar Medina and Nick Schrader. They also add two-time All-Summit League cross country runner Michael Castel from Western Illinois for his senior campaign.
Southern opens the season at home this Friday, Aug. 29, with the Saluki Early Bird at 5:30 p.m.
Midwest Region Top-15 (Men)
1. Oklahoma State
3. Iowa State
10. South Dakota State
11. Southern Illinois
12. Illinois State