NEW ORLEANS - Florida Southern opens the 2015 season ranked fourth in the Preseason NCAA Division II South Region rankings that are compiled by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and were released Tuesday.
The Moccasins, who claimed its second consecutive South Regional title a year ago and was runner-up at the Sunshine State Conference Championships, was one of five SSC teams ranked in the Preseason South Region Top 10. Saint Leo, who took home the SSC Championship last season, is ranked No. 2, while Nova Southeastern is fifth, Tampa is ranked sixth and Florida Tech is ninth.
The USTFCCCA NCAA Division II region polls will be released every week during the regular season beginning on Sept. 15. The poll ranks the Top 10 men's and women's cross country teams in each of the eight NCAA regions. Eight regional representatives coordinate the voting in their own region with input from the coaches.
Other teams ranked in the Preseason USTFCCCA South Region poll were Gulf South Conference members Lee (Tenn.) at No. 1, Alabama-Huntsville at No. 3, West Florida is No. 7 and West Georgia is No. 8. The Southern Intercollegiate Conference (SIAC) is represented by Benedict at No. 10.
Florida Southern, who is under the direction of third year head coach Ben Martucci, returns six of its top seven runners from last season's regional championship squad, including junior Robert Ormsby (Fort Myers, Fla.), who was named both a USTFCCCA All-South Region and All-SSC selection last season, junior Evan Quinones (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), who was also named a USTFCCCA All-South Region honoree and senior Kyle Butler (Melbourne, Fla.), who also was tabbed a USTFCCCA All-South Region performer.
The Mocs will open its 2015 this coming Friday, Sept. 4 as they compete at the University of Tampa Invitational held at the Sydney Dover Trails in Dover, Fla. The 2015 regular season will conclude on Saturday, Oct. 24 as the 2015 SSC Championships will be held at Holloway Park in Lakeland and hosted by the Moccasins, while the NCAA Division II South Regional Championships is slated for Saturday, Nov. 7 held at the Abbey Golf Course in Saint Leo, Fla.
Click here for the complete Preseason NCAA Division II USTFCCCA Regional polls