Preseason Prognostications

SEC announces preseason cross country polls with 2021 season on horizon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Both SEC preseason polls for men’s and women’s cross country were announced on Thursday by the conference office.

Vanderbilt, which enters its first season under newly-appointed director of cross country and track and field Althea Thomas, was selected ninth in the women’s poll and tied for 11th on the men’s side as decided by a vote of the league’s head coaches. The women earned 97 points among 14 teams while the men tied with Auburn with 116 points. The Arkansas men and women were selected as the SEC favorites.

Points for the men’s poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11 basis while the points for the women’s poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13 basis. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.

Last season, Vanderbilt’s women finished with 198 points at the SEC Championships to earn the program’s 10th top-six finish in the last 11 years, including the 2011 SEC title, while the men accumulated 248 points—since 1980, that total was only bettered by last season’s 239 points.

Both the women’s and men’s team returns all of their regular scorers from last season. In addition to a new crop of freshmen, the men return Caleb Van Geffen for a fifth year while on the women’s side Gillian Mortimer returns for a fifth year and graduate transfer McKenzie Yanek joins the Commodores after an All-SEC stint with Alabama and earning an undergraduate degree from the University of San Francisco.

Vanderbilt cross country opens its 2021 campaign Sept. 3 at Missouri.

Be sure to follow Vanderbilt cross country and track and field programs on all social media platforms at @vandyxctrack.