Pittsburg State is favored to defend its MIAA women's cross country championship, according to the coaches' preseason poll released Friday by the league office.
The Gorillas received 10 of a possible 12 first-place votes and 139 points to top the poll. Nebraska-Kearney had one first-place vote and is second with 130 points, followed by Northwest Missouri with 115 and Rogers State with 108.
Missouri Southern landed two No. 1 votes and is fifth with 104 points, followed by Fort Hays State 102, Central Missouri 73, Missouri Western 66, Washburn 60, Emporia State 48, Newman 34, Central Oklahoma 23 and Lincoln 12.
Pittsburg State ranks third in the men's poll with 83 points, trailing defending champion Missouri Southern (96) and Nebraska-Kearney (88). The Lions, who have won three of the last four league titles, landed seven first-place votes, and the Lopers had three No. 1 ballots.
Washburn is fourth with 71 points, and Northwest Missouri had the other No. 1 vote while placing fifth with 62 points. Completing the poll: Central Missouri 61, Missouri Western 48, Emporia State 32, Fort Hays State 29, Rogers State 25 and Newman 10.
The Gorillas make their season debut at 7 a.m. Saturday by hosting their annual Alumni Meet at Countryside Golf Course. Their next meet is the Missouri Southern Stampede on Sept. 15.