Poll Position

Poll Position
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After breakout team performances last year, the Belmont University men's cross country team was picked second in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll while the Bruin women were tabbed third, the league announced Thursday.
 
The preseason positions match where Belmont's runners finished at the 2016 OVC meet in Nashville, both improvements on projections from before that season. 
 
"Last year both teams really surprised, really exceeded expectations by the end of the year," said Jeff Langdon, director of Belmont's cross country and track and field programs.
 
"We try to just focus on ourselves and not worry about the competition. We're just going to go about our business, but I feel like it's well deserved recognition on both ends."
 
The Belmont men received one first-place vote. Ten of the league's 12 head coaches predicted perennial power Eastern Kentucky to continue its reign atop the OVC though. The Colonels were also slotted first in the women's cross country poll, drawing 11 of 12 first-place selections.
 
The Belmont men accrued 106 points in the poll where first-place votes are worth 11, second are 10 and so on. Tennessee Tech, which also earned one first, garnered 102 total points to finish third though both programs were looking up at EKU's 120 points.
 
The Belmont women totaled 99 points behind Southeast Missouri (103), which had one first-place vote, and Eastern Kentucky (121).
 
Last season the EKU men claimed their 25th OVC championship and 11th in a row. The school's women won their fifth straight title and 30th overall.
 
Eastern Kentucky is the gold standard in the league with the kind of success everyone else is hoping to emulate, Langdon said.
 
"That's the bar. We haven't talked a whole lot about conference expectations yet, but I think we want to be able to mix it up with them a little bit better. Tighten up, let them know we're for real," he said.
 
The Bruins open the 2017 season at home, hosting the Belmont Opener on Saturday, Sept. 2 at Percy Warner Park in Nashville.
 
The OVC Championship meet is scheduled for Oct. 28 in Charleston, Illinois.
 

2017 OVC MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

(as voted on by the OVC head cross country coaches)

TEAM POINTS

1. Eastern Kentucky (10 first-place votes) 120

 2. Belmont (1) 106

 3. Tennessee Tech (1) 102

 4. Morehead State 91

 5. Eastern Illinois 79

 6. UT Martin 75

 7. Southeast Missouri 52

 8. Murray State 46

 9. SIUE 42

10. Austin Peay 40

11. Jacksonville State 27

12. Tennessee State 12

(Teams awarded 11 points for a first-place vote, 10 for second, etc.)


2017 OVC WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

(as voted on by the OVC head cross country coaches)

TEAM POINTS

 1. E. Kentucky (11 first-place votes) 121

 2. Southeast Missouri (1) 103

 3. Belmont 99

 4. Eastern Illinois 84

 5. UT Martin 79

 6. Murray State 74

 7. Tennessee Tech 66

 8. SIUE 55

 9. Morehead State 45

10. Austin Peay 31

11. Jacksonville State 24

12. Tennessee State 11

(Teams awarded 11 points for a first-place vote, 10 for second, etc.)