WACO, Texas – The Rogers State women's cross country team was selected to finish fifth in the 2017 Heartland Conference preseason poll announced on Wednesday (Aug. 16) morning by the league office. The poll was selected by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors.
The Hillcats earned 68 points in the poll to be picked in the fifth spot, one spot higher than the navy and red finished in the conference during the 2016 Heartland Conference Championship.
RSU returns a strong core from the 2016 season, including four of the top six finishers at the 2016 Heartland Conference Championship.
The Hillcats bring experience with seniors Hailey Gillispie and J'Cee Holmes along with two sophomores who played key roles as freshman in Beth Terhune and Ellen Thomas.
Under the guidance of eighth-year head coach Chris McCormick, the Hillcats begin their fifth season as a member of the Heartland Conference and second year as an active member of the NCAA Division II.
Dallas Baptist University was unanimously picked to claim its 11th-consecutive league title as the Patriots totaled 128 votes and all 16 first-place votes.
Newman and Oklahoma Christian tied for second with 89 points, and Lubbock Christian totaled 87 points, only two votes behind NU and OC, to rank fourth.
After the Hillcats was Texas A&M International as the Dustdevils' 57 points put them in sixth place. St. Edward's came in seventh place with 40 points, and UAFS totaled 18 points for eighth place.
The 2017 Heartland Conference Championship is scheduled for Oct. 21, hosted by Newman in Wichita, Kansas.
RSU opens the 2017 campaign on Sept. 2 at
the UCO Land Run held at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
Heartland Women’s Cross Country Poll
1. Dallas Baptist 128
2. Newman 89
2. Oklahoma Christian 89
4. Lubbock Christian 87
5. Rogers State 68
6. Texas A&M International 57
7. St. Edward’s 40
8. Arkansas-Fort Smith 18