Oct. 25, 2011
ST. LOUIS -- The Southern Illinois men's cross country team has been picked as this season's favorite to win at this weekend's Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championship in a poll conducted by league coaches.
Meanwhile, the women's team is projected to take fourth place in the championship.
The men garnered 73 points and three first-place votes to take the top spot in the poll. After finishing in second-place a year ago, the Salukis have taken team honors twice this year and place four runners in the Valley 8k top-ten. Their roster provides a lot of depth with Neal Anderson (athlete of the week honors, second-fastest 8k time in the Valley), Zach Dahleen (fourth-fastest 8k), Brian Dixon (athlete of the week honors, 7th-fastest 8k) and Lucas Cherry (9th 8k time).
Indiana State received four first-place votes totaling 70 points to put them in second place, just three points behind the Saluki men.
The Southern Illinois women took the fourth position with a total of 67 points.
Former MVC Athlete of the Week Lacey Gibson and fellow freshman Kelley Gallagher will lead the way for the women on the course. The Saluki women have won two team championships this year, the EIU Walt Crawford Open and the Saluki Invitational.
Wichita State was picked first in the women's pre-championship poll with seven first-place votes and a total of 97 points.
The 2011 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championship will be held this Sunday, October 30, at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind. hosted by Indiana State University.