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2015 Cross Country Preview: Women (2400 hits)



Courtesy: SWAC.org
Release: 08/28/2015



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Alabama State Hornets come into 2015 preparing to go for their fifth-straight Southwestern Athletic Conference Cross Country championship. But several teams in the SWAC have designs on challenging ASU for the top spot in the conference.

Alabama A&M

2014 finish: Eighth at SWAC Championships

Former Alabama State assistant coach Lashunda Jones enters her first season as head coach of the track and field/cross country programs on “The Hill.” Jones, an Alabama A&M alumna who holds the distinction of being the first athlete in Bulldogs’ history to win a SWAC title in track and field (2001, 60m indoor), is tasked with heading up a program that has finished no better than seventh place at the conference championships over the last five years. Leading the way for the Bulldogs will be Keanna McIntyre, the lone senior on the squad. After a top-25 finish in 2014, McIntyre looks to improve in her final hurrah for the Maroon and White.

Alabama State

2014 finish: Won SWAC Championship

ASU is set to return a vast majority of the squad that swept the first six slots of the SWAC championships including 2014 SWAC Women’s Runner of the Year Artrailia LeSane and Paige Rankin. The Hornets – who return every runner that earned First-Team All-SWAC honors – enter 2015 as the prohibitive favorite to win a fifth-straight conference title, which would tie them with the 1995-99 Grambling State Lady Tigers for the second-most consecutive titles in SWAC history.

Alcorn State

2014 finish: Fourth at SWAC Championships

With second-team All-SWAC runner Dynasty Williams and top-15 finisher Brandi McCray returning, Alcorn State should be in the conversation when it comes to possible challengers to Alabama State at the SWAC Championships. The Braves’ projected top runners are strong, but if names like Kassandra Booker and Yekesiha Royal are able to make some strides, Alcorn State may have a real shot at earning the program’s first cross country conference championship.

Arkansas Pine-Bluff

2014 finish: 10th at SWAC Championships

Tineika Toussaint, the team’s top finisher from 2014, has graduated, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s will need its runners to make a leap forward as they attempt to improve on last year’s results. Sydnee Worlds, more known for her exploits in field events, joins the team and could help fill the void left behind by Toussaint as UAPB tries to avoid a third-straight 10th place finish at the conference championships.  

Grambling State

2014 finish: Fifth at SWAC Championships

As one of the most experienced squads in all of the SWAC, Grambling eyes 2015 as the season to separate itself from the middle of the pack. Having lost no one from last year’s fifth-place team, the Tigers could be a potential dark horse pick in the conference. Senior Faith Early is the top returning finisher from last year’s team, placing in the top 20 during the 2014 SWAC Championships.

Jackson State

2014 finish: Ninth at SWAC Championships

After finishing third at the 2013 SWAC Championships, the once-dominant cross country power in the SWAC found itself looking up at the competition in 2014. Jackson State will try to rebound in 2015 with D’Andrea Eashmond and A’Kendra Lewis providing the experience and leadership factors for an otherwise youthful Jackson State squad as it eyes a better result than the one earned in the season prior.

Mississippi Valley State

2014 finish: Sixth at SWAC Championships

The Devilettes enter 2015 with a new face at the helm as Fermon Tate, Jr., who most recently coached at Tiffin University (Ohio), will take over as coach of the MVSU men’s and women’s track and field/cross country teams. Tate is no stranger to SWAC play, as he competed for MVSU in helping the Delta Devils’ track team win NAIA national titles in 1981 and 1982. Tate has also coached at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Also, sophomore Deja Davis, fresh off an impressive seventh-place finish at the conference championships in her freshman season could challenge Alabama State’s stable of runners as best in the conference.

Continued: http://www.swac.org/ViewArticle.dbml?SPID=96596&DB_OEM_ID=27400&ATCLID=210297690


Posted By: Elly Moss
Friday, August 28th 2015 at 12:45PM
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