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Pitt women ranked 8th, men ranked 13th in ACC cross country poll - The Pitt News

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Pitt women ranked 8th, men ranked 13th in ACC cross country poll

Pitt%27s+women%27s+cross+country+team+is+coming+off+the+best+regional+performance+in+program+history.%0A--+Copyright+Christopher+Mitchell+%2F+SportShotPhoto.com
Pitt's women's cross country team is coming off the best regional performance in program history.
-- Copyright Christopher Mitchell / SportShotPhoto.com

Pitt's women's cross country team is coming off the best regional performance in program history. -- Copyright Christopher Mitchell / SportShotPhoto.com

Christopher Mitchell / Sport Sho

Christopher Mitchell / Sport Sho

Pitt's women's cross country team is coming off the best regional performance in program history. -- Copyright Christopher Mitchell / SportShotPhoto.com

By Steve Rotstein / Sports Editor

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An ACC preseason poll released Thursday has predicted the Pitt women’s and men’s cross country teams will finish eighth and 13th in the conference, respectively, according to head coaches in the ACC who voted in the rankings.

“The ACC is a great conference for women’s cross country,” Pitt women’s head coach Adam Bray said in a press release. “We are excited for the challenge of improving upon our finish from last fall.”

Both teams made improvements from last season’s preseason poll, when they were each picked to finish 14th out of 15 teams in the ACC.

With 31 athletes returning from last year’s team, the women’s squad has a chance to improve on its school-record-tying seventh-place finish at the 2015 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship.

Sophomore Gillian Schriever returns after leading the Panthers at last year’s regionals with a 6K time of 21:51, good for a 30th-place overall finish. She will be counted on to head the team in just her second season along with juniors Melanie Vlasic and Ariel Pastore-Sebring, who are returning after top-50 regional performances as well.

After finishing No. 14 out of 28 teams at last year’s regional tournament, Pitt’s men’s team faces a tougher challenge in heading up the ACC.

“We’ve grown as a team since last year, and so have our expectations,” men’s head coach Bryan Jackson said in the release. “This is a highly competitive conference, and we’re ready to show what we’re capable of.”

The men’s team returns eight starters to its 12-member lineup –– including senior Chris Montgomery and junior Ryan Hughes, who placed No. 43 and No. 66, respectively, out of 174 competitors in the 10K at last year’s regional championship.

The release of the ACC preseason poll comes just three days after both teams appeared in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region rankings, with the women’s team placing sixth and the men’s team placing 14th.

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Pitt women ranked 8th, men ranked 13th in ACC cross country poll