AUGUSTA, Ga. – Following their first PBC Championship in program history, the North Georgia women’s cross country team has been voted the 2018 preseason favorite in a poll of the league’s head coaches released on Wednesday. The Nighthawks received seven first-place votes and finished with 79 points in the poll, six ahead of second-place Augusta, who received two first-place nods.

North Georgia finished in second place at the PBC Championship for three straight years before breaking through in 2017 with their first title. UNG placed all five of their scoring runners in the top 12 and then finished fourth at the NCAA regional, just missing a shot at the national final. UNG returns four All-Conference runners this season led by seniors Emma Brown and Makayla Ellis. Also back are sophomores Kenedi Rodney and Olivia Terwilliger who were also named All-Conference. Head coach Tom Williams was named PBC Coach of the Year in 2017 as well.

Behind Augusta came Flagler, receiving one first-place vote, Georgia College and UNC Pembroke to round out the top five.

Teams received nine points for a first-place vote, eight for a second and so on. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.