After finishing third at last year's Mid-Continent Conference Championships, the Valparaiso University women's cross country team has been picked to place fourth this upcoming season in the preseason poll as voted upon by the league's head coaches.
Head coach Mike Straubel's squad totaled 45 points in the voting, trailing Oral Roberts by just one point.
Southern Utah was picked to claim this year's title, with Western Illinois picked second. Oakland was voted fifth ahead of IUPUI and UMKC. Chicago State and Centenary round 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 women's race begins at 5 p.m.
2005 Mid-Continent Conference Preseason Poll
Team - Points
1. Southern Utah (7) - 63
2. Western Illinois - 54
3. Oral Roberts (1) - 46
4. Valparaiso - 45
5. Oakland (1) - 38
6. IUPUI - 28
7. UMKC - 27
8. Chicago State - 12
9. Centenary - 11
(First place votes in parentheses)