BURNSVILLE, MN -- The Augustana men's and women's cross country teams were picked first in the 2013 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches' Polls.

The University of Sioux Falls was picked third in the men's poll while the Cougars were sixth in the women's poll.

The Viking men received a maximum of 12 first place votes and a total of 144 points.  Minnesota State-Mankato received the other first place vote and finished second with 125 points.  Coaches cannot vote for their own school.  USF had 122 points.

In the women's poll, Augustana earned 13 first place votes and 195 points.  The University of Mary earned the other two first place votes and 166 points.  Sioux Falls had 127 points.

Seniors Paul Yak and Runa Falch were picked as the NSIC Preseason Athletes of the Year.  It is the second straight season Yak has won the honor. He is the two-time defending NSIC Men's Cross Country Champion and NSIC Athlete of the Year.  For Falch, it is her third consecutive selection as the women's Preseason Athlete of the Year.  She finished third at the 2012 NSIC Championships after winning the individual title in 2010 and 2011.  Falch won the 2012 NCAA Central Region title and finish eighth at the NCAA Division II national meet.

Augustana has won the last four NSIC men's team titles and the women are five-time defending champions and the 2011 Division II national champions.

USF junior Billy Brockmueller and senior Sierra Harder were picked by the league coaches as the Cougars' athletes to watch.  Brockmueller qualified for the 2012 NCAA Division II National Championships as an individual after finishing ninth at the Central Regional Meet. Brockmueller also earned the NCAA’s Elite 89 Award which is given to the athlete with the highest GPA competing in the NCAA National Championships.  Harder earned NSIC All-Conference honors for her 14th place finish at the 2012 conference meet.  She finished 24th overall in the Central Regional.

The Vinkings and Cougars open the 2013 season at the Augustana Twilight September 6 at Yankton Trail Park.

Official NSIC Release