Dalton State runners haven’t competed in the first conference action, but the newcomers are highly regarded coming into the season.
The Roadrunner men had the most first place votes (4), but the second most points (55) in the nine-team Southern States Athletic Conference voting.
Dalton State was edged out for number one by William Carey University of Hattiesburg, MS. The Crusaders had three first place votes, but 59 points in the poll. William Carey finished second last season behind former member Emmanuel (Ga).
The Lady Roadrunners are ranked fourth in the 10-team conference in the pre-season balloting with 56 points. Defending SSAC champions Brenau (Ga) received all eight first place votes and 80 points.
Dalton State coaches like what they see in this year’s team, but remain cautiously optimistic.
“We are excited and optimistic for both the men’s and women’s teams,” said Co-Coach Margie Bruner. “The kids have been working hard and putting in a lot of miles. While it’s an honor to be ranked this high in preseason, our first year of conference play, we hope to finish the season even higher.”
Co-Coach Andy Meyer agrees. “It’s a great honor to be ranked this high in such a quality conference with such good coaches,” said Meyer. “To be thought of this highly in our first year of conference eligibility is justification of the hard work that Coach Bruner, the athletes, the athletic department, the college administration, and the people of Dalton have put in to make this possible.”
“We still have a full season ahead of us with much more work,” Meyer added. “We have already had to adjust to some injuries, adjust to some sickness, and some attitudes. We hope to continue to work hard, stay focused and be ready to sneak up on some teams at our conference championships.”
Roadrunner cross country competition begins on Friday, September 5th. They will be at Moccasin Bend Course in Chattanooga for the Powerade Challenge sponsored by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
SSAC Men’s Ranking: (First Place Votes) Points
1. William Carey (3) 59
2. Dalton State (4) 55
3. Bethel (TN) 51
4. Loyola (La) 40
5. Blue Mountain (MS) 34
6. Belhaven (MS) 27
7. Auburn Montgomery 21
8. Mobile (AL) 16
9. Brewton-Parker (Ga) 12
SSAC Women’s Ranking: (First Place Votes) Points
1. Brenau (8) 80
2. Blue Mountain (MS) 64
3. Loyola (LA) 57
4. Dalton State 56
5. William Carey (MS) 55
6. Bethel (TN) 42
7. Mobile (Al) 27
8. Auburn Montgomery 26
9. Belhaven (MS) 19
10. Brewton-Parker (Ga) 14