MILLIGAN COLLEGE (Aug. 25, 2016) – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics released its national and conference preseason polls earlier this week and Milligan College’s cross country teams found themselves on each ranking. The women’s team was voted No.10 in the national polls while the men were voted No.26, with both teams being rated No.1 for the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
Their spots in the 2016 preseason polls passed where both teams finished in 2015, with the women moving up five spots from No.15 and the men moving up one. The men were the only AAC team to receive votes and the women were the only AAC team in the top 25.
“Early season rankings are always a roll of the dice, but I think these are fair given where we sit on paper,” Head Coach Chris Layne said. “Traditionally our teams make a big move late in the season and we’ll know a lot more once we get into mid-October.”
The women’s team features a strong balance of returners and newcomers, beginning with Hannah Segrave. Segrave is the reigning AAC champion and AAC Runner of the Year, and finished seventh at nationals with the highest finish and fastest time in school history. The women also have junior JJ Robinson returning, who finished in the top 100 at nationals in 2015. The team also has high hopes for freshmen Katlyn Haas and Erica Stone.
“Hannah and JJ, our top two returnees bring a great 1-2 punch,” Layne said. “I’m extremely excited about a few of our freshmen women like Katlyn Haas and Erica Stone.”
The men have a nice balance of returners and newcomers as well, starting with their own All-American, Taylor Tafelsky, who finished second in last year’s AAC Championships and finished 24th at the national championships. Following Tafelsky, the men’s team features senior Brandon Ellis who finished in the top 150 at 2015 nationals.
“Taylor and Brandon bring a wealth of experience at the national level and we’ll look to these two to guide a pretty young, but talented squad,” Layne said. “Mitch Bronstetter and Sam Wehner are two of the top young men out of the state of Tennessee and I think both will have made a nice move by seasons end.”
The cross country season gets underway when both teams travel to Cullowhee, North Carolina, for the Western Carolina University Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 3.