Valparaiso University's men's cross country team has been predicted to finish in sixth place in the Mid-Continent Conference this season in preseason balloting done by the league's head coaches.
Head coach Mike Straubel's squad totaled 31 points in the voting. The Crusaders are coming off of a sixth place finish in last year's championship meet.
Southern Utah was picked to claim this year's title, with IUPUI and Oakland sharing second in the balloting. Western Illinois was tabbed fourth and Oral Roberts was picked fifth. UMKC was selected to finish seventh, with Chicago State and Centenary rounding out the poll.
First place votes earned eight points in the poll on a scale that saw one point issued for an eighth place pick. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
The Crusaders will open up their 2005 season on Friday, September 9 at Sunset Hills Farm, hosting the Crusader Invitational. The men's race begins at 5:45 p.m.
2005 Mid-Continent Conference Preseason Poll
Team - Points
1. Southern Utah (8) - 64
t-2. IUPUI - 49
t-2. Oakland - 49
4. Western Illinois - 47
5. Oral Roberts (1) - 35
6. Valparaiso - 31
7. UMKC - 26
8. Chicago State - 14
9. Centenary - 9
(First place votes in parentheses)