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Women’s cross-country team tops preseason poll

September 10, 2009

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Simon Fraser has been selected as the No. 1 team in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women’s Cross-Country Top 25 Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

The Clan received 11 of 21 first-place votes and earned 573 points. Cedarville University (Ohio) is ranked second, followed by Biola University (Calif.), Concordia University (Calif.) and Malone University (Ohio) to round out the top five.

SFU’s women’s cross-country program returns to the top for the first time since Nov. 5, 2007. Despite an 11th-place showing at the 2008 national race, the Clan is gunning for the 11th national title in its history by returning key members who did not compete in 2008.

Among those back in 2009 are seniors Ali Hudson and Heather Mancell, who were members of the 2005, 2006 and 2007 title runs. Also returning are sophomores Jessica Smith, an All-American in 2007, and Helen Croft, who finished 49th a year ago.

A panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences voted in the poll. The first 2009 regular season poll will be released Sept. 16.

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