The University of Toledo women’s cross country team has been picked to finish first in the 2019 Mid-American Conference preseason coaches’ poll.
The women’s squad is seeking its first team title in five years after falling short by four points to Eastern Michigan at the MAC Championship Meet in 2018.Senior Athena Welsh led the Rockets last season, earning an individual berth at the NCAA Cross Country Championship. Welsh placed second at the MAC Championship (20:37.9) and came in 17th place at the Great Lakes Regional (20:55.2).
Sophomore Claire Steigerwald earned MAC Freshman of the Year honors after landing in 19th place with a time of 21:43.4 at the MAC Championships and posted a time of 22:11.7 at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
Senior Petronela Simiuc clocked a 21:50.5 at the MAC Championship to place 22nd and posted a time of 22:47.5 at the NCAA Regional.
Junior Michelle Hostettler posted a time of 21:38.8 to take 16th at the MAC Championship and stopped the clock at 21:54.1 at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
“Having a preseason No. 1 ranking is a nice complement to our program and to the group of athletes we have here at Toledo,” said Head Coach Andrea Grove-McDonough. “Having said that, there is a long season ahead of us, and we are more concerned about holding a championship trophy as the end of October than what the rankings might say this far out. There is not a lot of separation between us and a couple of other MAC teams. We need to stay hungry and focused to bring a MAC Championship trophy back to Toledo.”
Toledo tallied seven first-place votes while last season’s champion, Eastern Michigan, was tabbed to finish second with three first-place votes. Miami, Northern Illinois and Akron were chosen third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.
2019 Women’s MAC Cross Country Preseason Poll (First-place votes) – points
1. Toledo (7) — 135
2. Eastern Michigan (3) — 119
3. Miami (1) — 114
4. Northern Illinois — 113
5. Akron (1) — 99
6. Central Michigan — 90
7. Bowling Green — 71
8. Kent State — 50
9. Western Michigan — 45
10. Ball State — 43
11. Ohio — 36
12. Buffalo — 21