Scott Barker, AMC Sports Information Director
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Missouri Baptist enters the 2017 season as the preseason favorites in the 2017 AMC Women's Cross Country Preseason Coaches' Poll, the conference office announced on Tuesday. The Spartans received nine first-place votes en route to 115 total points.
Park Pirates received two first-place votes for 107 total points, with the final first-place vote going to Columbia, who comes in at No. 4.
No. 1 - Missouri Baptist University Spartans – 115 total points (nine first-place votes)
- The Spartans return six out of the seven runners, which led Missouri Baptist to a conference championship and a 33rd-place finish at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships.
- Rebecca Starrett looks to lead the Spartans again, as she finished second at the AMC Championships and ran a 5K PR time of 19:34 at the NAIA National Meet.
- The team welcomes back 2016 All-Conference selection Jynna Fritz, who finished seventh at the AMC meet. Fritz has recorded a personal-best time of 19:53.
- The Spartans start the season on Sept. 2, when they travel to Elsah, Ill. to compete in the Principia College XC Meet.
No. 2 – Park University Pirates – 107 points (two first-place votes)
- The Pirates are coming off a 2016 season that saw them capture a second-place finish at the AMC Conference Championships and finish 35th at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships. The Pirates finished just one point behind Missouri Baptist at the conference meet.
- Mary Beth Daniels returns after leading the Pirates across the finish line at the conference meet last season. She finished third in the conference with a time of 19:55.07 and was named to the All-Conference team.
- The team loses Emily High who finished second on the team last season at the AMC meet. She finished sixth overall and was named to the All-Conference list.
- The Pirates season starts on Sept. 2, as they travel to Baldwin City, Kan. to compete in the Maple Leaf Invitational.
No. 3 – Hannibal-LaGrange University Trojans – 100 points
- The Trojans finished third at the conference meet last season.
- Sierra St. Aubyn returns to the Trojans roster, after leading them across the finish line in all six races a year ago. Her season-best time was 19:48 that she ran at the Southern Stampede. Aubyn was one spot away from an individual qualification to the NAIA Cross Country National Championships.
- Bailey Wagner, who's PR in 2016 was 20:28 ran at the NAIA Seminole Valley Stampede, returns and looks to build on a strong freshman year.
- The Trojans lose senior Brooke Kicklighter, who ran a PR time of 20.33 at the Southern Stampede in 2016.
- The first meet for Hannibal-LaGrange is scheduled for Sept. 1 at the Great River Open in Quincy, Ill.
No. 4 – Columbia College Cougars – 96 points (one first-place vote)
- The Cougars, who finished fourth at the conference meet last season, returns everyone from that team.
- Naomi Payne returns after winning the conference meet with a time of 19:41.50 as a freshman. She was tabbed as the AMC Runner of the Year, Freshman of the Year and named to the All-Conference team.
- Grace Young will be a top runner for the Cougars. In 2016 she competed in four races, running sub-20 minutes in all four races.
- Columbia welcomes a trio of new runners. All three have recorded 5k times under 19 minutes.
- The Cougars 2017 campaign gets underway on Sept. 2, as they compete in the Southwest Baptist University meet in Bolivar, Mo.
No. 5 – Williams Baptist College Eagles – 81 points
- Williams Baptist returns three key runners to a team that finished fifth in the AMC Conference Meet a year ago.
- Top returner Hannah Roberts finished 2016 with a top time of 19:57. She finished 20th at the AMC meet.
- Betsy Ryan and Kristen Smith return to the roster from last year's squad. Ryan finished with a 5k PR time of 21.43, while Smith was right behind her with a PR time of 21.51.
- The Eagles season kicks off on Aug. 31st, as they compete in the Lyon College Invitational in Batesville, Ark.
Tied No. 6 – Lindenwood University-Belleville – 69 points
- Geeah Thompson and Aimie Marshall who finished the AMC meet third and fifth for the Lynx return and look to improve Lindenwood-Belleville's sixth-place team finish.
- The Lynx do lose top runner Emily Erdman and Alyssa Flynn, who went one, two on the team at the AMC meet a year ago.
- The season gets underway on Sept. 8th, as they take part I the Forest Park XC Festival in St. Louis, Mo.
Tied No. 6 – William Woods University Owls – 69 points
- The Owls return Ryan Easterline, who finished 17th at the 2016 AMC Championships.
- William Woods will have to fill the shoes of Jami Brandow, who transfers from the team, after finishing 6th at the AMC Championships.
- Second year head coach Jim Marshall is bringing in four freshmen to field a very young Owls team, which consists of five freshmen and one sophomore.
- The Owls season starts on Sept. 2 as they take part in the Principia Invitational in Elsah, Ill.
No. 8 – St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectics – 41 points
- As a team, the Eutectics finished eighth at the AMC Conference Championships.
- The Eutectics return Amber Tu who ran a PR of 21:29 last season. Tu finished third on the team at the AMC Conference Championships.
- The team loses Janki Patel. Patel finished fifth at the AMC Conference Championships and was an individual qualifier to the NAIA Cross Country National Championships.
- The Eutectics season gets started on Sept. 9, when the travel to Point Lookout, Mo. to take part in the Ozarks Ambush.
No. 9 – Freed-Hardeman University Lions – 40 points
- The Lady Lions return Libby Elliott, Anna Peters, Brooke Simpson, Jade Ford and Tori Murray from last year's squad.
- Murray led the Lady Lions at the AMC conference meet with a time of 22:55.07.
- Simpson recorded a time of 23:39.56 at the conference meet, with Ford, Elliott and Peters close behind.
- The Lady Lions first meet of 2017 is on Sept. 2nd at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classis in Memphis, Tenn.
No. 10 – Stephens College Stars – 35 points
- The Stars return Brittany Stanfield from a team that finished ninth at the AMC Conference Championships a year ago. Stanfield's fastest 5k time was 21:59.
- Sierra Green returns, as she was the team's third runner last season. Her PR was 23:12.56 that she posted at the AMC Conference Championships.
- The Stars lose top runner Malindi Congour, who finished eighth at the Conference Championships and was an automatic qualifier to the NAIA National Championships.
- Stephens season gets underway on Sept. 1, as they compete in the Great River Open in Quincy, Ill.
No. 11 – Central Baptist College Mustangs – 28 points
- The Mustangs, who are in their second year as a program, are returning all but one runner from a year ago.
- Macy Burroughs (SR/Vilonia, Ark.) returns after finishing first for the team in five meets in 2016. Her best 5k time was 20:21.77 at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival.
- Sophomore Averi Ratliff (SO/Vilonia, Ark.) looks to build on a strong freshman campaign, in which she recorded a season-best 5k time of 23:23.72 at the Southern Stampede.
- The Mustangs season gets started on August 31st, as they travel to Batesville, Ark. to compete in the Lyon College Invitational.
No. 12 – Lyon College Scots – 13 points
- The Scots will restart its cross country program in 2017 after a seven year hiatus.
- Adam Trausch has been named the head coach of the men's and women's program after serving as an assistant cross country/track & field coach at Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio since January of 2016.
- Lyon College will see the cross country season in action, for the first time since 2007, on Aug. 31st, as they host the Lyon College Invitational in Batesville, Ark.
2017 AMC Cross Country Conference Championships
- The AMC Cross Country Conference Championships will be on Nov. 3 at Principia College in Elsah, Ill.
- The AMC receives two automatic qualifiers to the NAIA Cross Country National Championships – meet champion and meet runner-up – as well as six individual qualifiers.
- The top six individuals, not on a qualifying team, make up the six individual qualifiers provided they finish in the top-20 of the conference meet.
- The NAIA Cross Country National Championships will take place on Nov. 18th at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash.
2017 AMC Women's Cross Country Preseason Coaches' Poll
School (1st-place votes)
Missouri Baptist (9)
St. Louis Pharmacy