Women's Cross Country - Wed, Aug. 27, 2014 - posted by Seth Mikel
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NAIA Top-25 Preseason Poll
KANSAS CITY - One year after a record-setting 10th-place finish at the NAIA National Championships, the Taylor University women's cross country program will enter the 2014 campaign ranked No. 7 in the NAIA Top-25 Preseason Poll.

Taylor garnered 491 points in the preseason poll, trailing only Biola (580), Lewis-Clark State (573), Dordt (546), Olivet Nazarene (521), Northwest Christian (514) and Carroll (501) in the rankings.

"Ratings are always interesting, especially preseason ratings," remarked fifth-year head coach Quinn White. "We all know it is about the final two races and not an August rating. However, it is exciting to see the respect that other coaches give our program."

Taylor jumped into the national spotlight with a 118-13 overall record in 2013, including a second-place showing at the NAIA Preview and wins at the Great Lakes Invitational and Crossroads League Championships. TU entered the NAIA National Championships ranked No. 4 in the nation with an overall clip of 96-4 through five events and set numerous team and individual records throughout the season.

The statistical highlights included posting the fastest four times and five of the top-10 times in program history. Hannah Schroder, Allison Steinbeck, Anna Meyer and Elaine Schmeltz also rewrote the individual record book with the second, fourth, 10th and 11th-fastest individual times in TU history.

"I think this team has the potential to improve on last year's finish, but I also think the Crossroads League will be the strongest it has been in years," added White. "I am excited to be part of a league that is so strong and will only get better."

The Trojans return 16 student-athletes returning to the roster along with seven incoming freshmen. The group will be anchored by returning All-Crossroads League seniors Steinbeck, Schmeltz and Jenna Norris, all-league junior Jane Hawks and all-league sophomores Schroder and Meyer.

Taylor will open its 2014 season on Friday, September 5, when it hosts the Ray Bullock Invitational at 6:00 pm.