KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 2018 cross country season is soon to be underway, and the Fort Hays State women's cross country team heads into the season ranked No. 4 in the MIAA. The conference poll, which was released Friday, placed the Tigers in the fourth position alongside 113 total points while receiving one first-place vote.

The MIAA is led by No. 1 Pittsburg State who garnered 11 first-place votes and 143 total points, followed by Southwest Baptist with one first-place vote and 121 points and Missouri Southern rounding out the top-three with 120 points.

The Tigers are coming off a second place finish at the 2017 MIAA Championships, where three FHSU runners captured All-MIAA honors. This was the best finish for the Tigers since joining the conference in 2006. FHSU earned 91 total points at the event to come in the runner-up position. The senior trio of Lindsay Roberts (fifth place), Lauren Roberts (eighth place) and Chelsea Jackson (15th place) all picked up All-MIAA accolades.

The 2018 squad will try to pick up where those three left off, as the new team is filled with strong talent. Senior Yessenia Gonzales looks to anchor the squad, following a 24th place finish at conference last season. Gonzales is the lone senior on the roster. She is joined on the team by seven freshman, two sophomores and three juniors. The Tigers are once again led by head coach Jason McCullough who enters his 14th season at the helm of Fort Hays State.

The action for the new season will commence with a home event as the Tigers host the FHSU Sand Plum Alumni Open on Saturday, Sept. 1 starting at 9 a.m. They will also be back on their home ground on Oct. 13 with the FHSU Tiger Open again with a 9 a.m. starting time.

2018 MIAA Women's Preseason Cross Country Coaches' Poll

1. Pittsburg State (11) – 143

2. Southwest Baptist (1) – 121

3. Missouri Southern – 120

4. Fort Hays State (1) – 113

5. Nebraska-Kearney – 99

6. Washburn – 95

7. Central Missouri – 75

8. Northwest Missouri State – 64

9. Missouri Western – 53

T10. Central Oklahoma – 46

T10. Emporia State – 46

12. Lindenwood – 27

13. Lincoln – 12