Both University of Tennessee at Chattanooga cross country teams were picked to finish second behind Furman in the Southern Conference this season. The coaches' preseason poll released Tuesday had nine first-place votes for both the Furman men and the female Paladins, with the Samford men and the Western Carolina women getting the other top choice in their respective balloting. Newly returning SoCon member East Tennessee State was third in the men's poll, two points behind UTC, and fourth in the women's poll, where UTC got 63 points, Samford 61 and ETSU 60. Longtime Mocs coach Bill Gautier returns senior John Gilpin and juniors Paul Stuart and Trevor Janssen to lead his men's team and reigning All-American and SoCon runner of the year Teghan Henderson to lead the women, along with Amanda Cotter, Rebecca Greenwall, Keeley Stewart and Jessica York. Both teams will begin their season Sept. 5 in UTC's PowerAde Invitational on the Moccasin Bend course.
• The UTC volleyball team received an American Volleyball Coaches Association academic award for the second consecutive year after posting a 3.35 aggregate grade point average last fall and a 3.42 in the spring semester. "It's a great honor to be recognized for academics for a second year in a row," Mocs coach Travis Filar said in a school release Tuesday. "We compete on the floor for wins, but above all we identify as students before athletes." Sarah Batterton, Catherine Chason and Caroline Hildebrand had 4.0s for the fall 2013 semester, and Anne Bachmann, Brianna Guzinski and Nicole Sumida had 4.0s in the spring. Batterton, Lauren Gainer, Chason and Julimar Alvarado were Academic All-Southern Conference after compiling GPAs of 3.89, 3.82, 3.57 and 3.56 for the entire school year. The 2014 season begins Aug. 29 in a tournament in Houston. The home opener is Sept. 2 against Kennesaw State.