The University of Scranton women's cross country team has consistently finished in the middle of the pack in the Landmark Conference in recent years, placing fourth or fifth in each of the past four seasons. With seven runners returning from last season's team, the Royals will look to climb the conference ladder in 2018.
To do that, Scranton will need to exceed the expectations of the Landmark Conference coaches. The Royals were chosen fourth in the preseason poll of the coaches, which was released on Tuesday afternoon. Scranton received 33 points in the voting while defending champion Elizabethtown was picked as the favorite with 66 points and five first-place votes. Moravian was second with 60 points and two first-place votes and Susquehanna was third with 41 points and one first-place vote. Juniata was fifth, one point behind Scranton, followed by Catholic (20), Goucher (11) and Drew (9).
Among Scranton's seven returners from last year's conference championship meet is the overall champion, sophomore Abigail Corrigan (Carbondale, Pa./Holy Cross). Corrigan became the Royals' first-ever conference champion in the women's cross country program's 38-year history. She went on to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championship, where she finished 96th.
Three other Royals return who finished in the top 30 at least year's conference championship – sophomore Abigail Guziewicz (Peckville, Pa./Holy Cross), who was 15th; senior Emily Carr (Elmhurst, Pa./Scranton Prep), who was 27th; and sophomore Kerri Rafter (West Chester, Pa./West Chester East), who was 29th.
Head coach Bill Burke, who enters his 12th season, will need some solid improvement from his eight total returnees for the Royals to make a run at a top-three finish. They will open the season on Friday, Aug. 31, in the Misericordia Invitational at 6 p.m. at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa.
For the complete Landmark Conference women's cross country preseason poll, visit www.landmarkconference.org.