KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney men’s cross country men’s team was picked second and the women were third in the MIAA preseason coaches poll.
The Loper men, who finished runner-up at last year’s conference meet and were seventh out of 28 schools at the Central Regional, tallied 88 points and one of the 11 first-place votes. Missouri Southern (100 points; 10 first place votes) is the heavy favorite with Fort Hays State and Pittsburg State right behind UNK.
A veteran Loper team returns most of its 2018 lineup including All-American Corbin Hansen, senior Shane Burkey and sophomores Justin Vrooman and Matt Thurston.
On the women’s side, UNK garnered 119 points and one first-place vote to edge rival Fort Hays (111).
Pittsburg State (138) and Missouri Southern (135) took the top two spots.
Last season, UNK finished fourth at the MIAA meet. Losing a couple of key runners to graduation and academic pursuits, the Lopers return All-MIAA runner Destiny Reinke and juniors Zoe Ritz and Maddie Bach.
In the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association polls, UNK men are ranked sixth in the Central Region while the women are seventh.