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Women's Cross Country To Begin Season Ranked No. 10 in Nation
Nicky Akande emerged as one of the Wildcats top runners last season.
Preseason National Polls
Preseason Regional Polls

NEW ORLEANS--In the cross country preseason polls released by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) last week Villanova is ranked No. 10 in the nation and third in the Mid-Atlantic Region to begin the 2012 campaign. Last season the Wildcats finished third as a team at the NCAA Championships and earned a spot on the awards podium for the third straight year. Villanova returns four runners from the lineup of seven that competed at last year's national championships meet.

Juniors Emily Lipari (Greenvale, N.Y.) and Nicky Akande (Lawrenceville, Ga.) are each veterans for the Wildcats and they are joined by senior Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) and sophomore Courtney Chapman (Fayetteville, N.Y.) as returnees from the 2011 team.

Villanova is one of six BIG EAST teams to earn a preseason ranking in the national top 30. The other conference teams to appear in the rankings are Georgetown (No. 3), Providence (7), Syracuse (9), West Virginia (21) and Notre Dame (22).

In the Mid-Atlantic Region rankings the Wildcats are third to Georgetown and Princeton, while West Virginia and La Salle round out the top five teams in the region.

Villanova opens the 2012 season on Thursday, September 20 at the Main Line Invitational. The three-mile women's course for the event is located on the Haverford College campus and the race begins at 5:00 p.m.