SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Aug. 25, 2021) – The Southern Conference announced its preseason polls for men’s and women’s cross country on Wednesday, and both Buccaneer programs were picked to finish second.
The Buccaneer men totaled 70 points and trailed Furman by 11 points as the Paladins collected nine of the 10 first-place nods. VMI garnered the other first-place selection and was picked third with 63 points. Samford (58 points) and UNCG (51 points) rounded out the top five on the men’s side.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneer women collected one first-place vote to finish tied for second with Samford at 69 points, while Furman bagged nine first-place votes en route to being pegged the preseason favorite with 81 points. UNCG (49 points) and Chattanooga (47 points) rounded out the top five.
"We are optimistic for the coming season. I think the rankings are fair and accurate as we enter the season. The goal is to be prepared for the conference championship," said George Watts, Director of Cross Country and Track & Field. "Things can change over a nine-week period, so we need to train intelligently, stay healthy and and take care of our bodies. I look forward to coaching both teams. It's a good group of young men and women, and they are motivated to do well."
Both the men’s and women’s programs finished third at last year’s conference meet with Lindsey Stallworth (Knoxville, Tenn.) capturing the individual title, becoming the second ETSU female runner in program history to win a cross country conference championship. Stallworth, who returns for another season in the Blue and Gold, went on to claim All-American honors after finishing 38th at the NCAA Championship.
The women return their top five scorers from last year’s meet, which includes two all-conference performers and a SoCon all-freshman team selection. Joining Stallworth with all-SoCon accolades was Genevieve Schwarz (Oak Ridge, Tenn.), while Kiera Snyder (Clyde, Mich.) earned the all-freshman team accolade. Schwarz had her best showing at the conference meet as she finished 14th with a time of 18:50.49, while Snyder – who ran in just her second collegiate race at last year’s conference meet – placed 16th in 18:52.92.
Likewise, the men also return their top five scorers from the SoCon Championship. Matt Scarr (Wambersal, NSW, Australia) earned first team all-conference honors after finishing sixth (25:04.43) and Gavin Cooper (LaFollette, Tenn.) collected second team honors, clocking in at 25:54.29. Seth Bowden (Maryville, Tenn.) also returns for his third season as he earned SoCon all-freshman team honors in 2019.
The Buccaneer men and women open the 2021 season on Friday, Sept. 3, as the Bucs head to Boone, N.C. to run in the Covered Bridge Open.
For more information on ETSU men’s and women’s cross country, visit ETSUBucs.com.