The Great American Conference announced the results of its 2021 GAC women’s cross country preseason coaches’ poll. Oklahoma Baptist, the four-time conference champions received six first-place votes to sit atop the ranking.
In February, the Bison became just the fifth GAC program to win at least four-straight conference titles. Emma Downing captured the individual title by almost eight seconds. Kayla McGruder landed on the All-GAC First Team after a third-place result. Berkley Price garnered Second-Team accolades.
Harding edged out Arkansas Tech by a single point for second place. At the 2021 GAC Championships, the Lady Bisons produced four First-Team All-GAC honorees in Nieves Megias, Ellie Fantauzzo, Molly Passmore and Sydney Tabor. All four return for the fall season.
The Golden Suns finished second to the Bison at the GAC Championships, their best showing in GAC history. They received four first-place votes.
Ashlynn Mays earned GAC Freshman of the Year after a seventh-place showing. Tech brings back three additional All-GAC runners in Calli Beshore, Karina Maravillas and Morganne Browning.
Southern Arkansas took fourth, followed closely by East Central and Ouachita. The Muleriders’ Carley Hale recorded her second-straight top-10 finish at the GAC Championships to make the All-GAC First Team. ECU’s Aaliyah Regg-Wajid, who took second to Downing at the GAC Championships, became the sixth women’s runner in league history to record multiple top-two finishes at the GAC Championships. Ouachita took fifth in February, to equal their best team showing in the GAC era. The Tigers bring back their two All-GAC runners – Taylor Koeth and Becca Beard.
Southeastern Oklahoma State finished seventh in the voting, followed by Southwestern Oklahoma State and Southern Nazarene. Northwestern Oklahoma State, Henderson State and Arkansas-Monticello rounded out the poll. The Bulldogs (Josilyn Schenk), Crimson Storm (Sabbatha Taylor) and Reddies (Tori Jackson) all return their top runners from the Spring 2021 GAC Championships.
The GAC Championships take place on Saturday, October 23. Harding will serve as the site for the second time after previously hosting in 2011.