CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BigSouthSports.com) - Charleston Southern was selected fourth in the Big South Conference's women's cross country preseason poll as announced by the conference office on Thursday afternoon. The Bucs received their highest ranking since the 2002 season as voted on by the league's head coaches.
Defending champion High Point received nine first-place votes and 118 points overall in being voted the favorite to defend their title. Campbell received a first-place vote and 110 points to sit second, while UNC Asheville was third with 85 points. Hampton received the final first-place vote and 75 points overall to round out the top five.
CSU returns three of the five runners who lead the Bucs to a promising seventh-place finish last season at the conference championships. Taylor Barnes utilized a strong freshman campaign to compete in the NCAA Regionals last fall, while Bethany Thornhill and Javenique McDowell also return to provide key depth for the Bucs in 2018.
Radford claimed sixth place with 70 points, followed by Winthrop in seventh with 64 points. New member USC Upstate landed in eighth (49 points), followed by Gardner-Webb (ninth, 33 points), Presbyterian College (10th, 26 points) and Longwood (11th, 18 points).
The women's cross country season begins Friday, Aug. 31. The 2018 Big South Women's Cross Country Championship is slated for Friday, Oct. 26, in Kernersville, N.C., and will be hosted by High Point University.