NEW ORLEANS – The Elon University women’s cross country team achieved its highest regional preseason ranking ever as the Phoenix was placed sixth in the Southeast Region as released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday afternoon, Aug. 29.
The Elon female harriers were the second team from Colonial Athletic Association to be ranked in the top six of the Southeast Region. Defending league champion William & Mary was placed third in the regional ranking behind Atlantic Coast Conference schools NC State and Virginia. Virginia Tech and Furman rounded out the rest of the top five in the Southeast Region.
“To be recognized by our peers as one of the top 10 teams in the region is truly a testament to the hard work the athletes have put in over the past three years,” said Elon head cross country coach Nick Polk. “The young ladies have worked hard to improve their standing at the regional meet the last three years and it’s a great sign of the program continuing to move into the right direction towards competing at the NCAA Championships.”
Last season, the Phoenix women achieved its highest finish ever at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships. Elon finished seventh overall at the meet after entering the region championships not ranked any higher than 15th in the Southeast Region during the season. In the previous two years, Elon had finished eighth in 2014 and ninth in 2013.
Kimberly Johansen became the second female runner in school history to earn All-Region honors with her 25th place standing. She also was Elon’s top finisher at the CAA Championships after finishing with the second-best time in school history in the 6K with a time of 20:58. Coralea Geraniotis was the CAA Female Rookie of the Year after finishing 15th in the league championships with a time of 21:45.6.
The Phoenix cross country programs open the 2016 season this Thursday, Sept. 1, with the Elon Opener. The women’s 4K race begins at 6 p.m. while the men’s 5K starts at 6:30 at the Elon Cross Country Course.