Manchester University earned 90 points and two first-place votes on the 2015 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference outdoor track and field coaches' preseason poll, released earlier this week.
The Spartans, the league indoor runner-ups, trailed preseason favorite and 2015 indoor champion Franklin College by just four points, as the Grizzlies earned six first-place votes. Hanover College was selected third (86 points and two first-place votes).
MU placed the trio of senior jumps specialist Bridgette Rowe (La Quinta, Calif.) and sophomores Mariah Jordan (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Shay Aator (West Lafayette, Ind.) on the "Athletes to Watch" section. Rowe, a two-time NCAA Division III indoor All-American in the high jump, is the reigning outdoor Field Athlete of the Year after winning the high jump and being a runner-up in the long and triple jumps at last spring's championships hosted by Defiance College, while Aator is also a returning all-HCAC honoree, as she is the defending hammer throw champion.
On the men's poll, Coach Brian Cashdollar's team received 52 points for a predicted seventh-place finish. Their total as just two points shy of Franklin College for the top five. Seven-time defending champion Rose-Hulman was tabbed a unanimous preseason favorite with 100 points and all 10 first-place votes.
The upperclassman field event trio of senior thrower Stephen Coble (Edwardsburg, Mich.), senior jumps specialist Austin Finley (Kokomo, Ind.) and junior jumps specialist Tanner Odle (Rensselaer, Ind.) was placed on the "Athletes to Watch" section. Coble, the defending discus champion, also placed second in the hammer and fourth in the shot last year. Finley and Odle each ended in the top 10 of the high and triple jumps.
MU opens the 2015 season Saturday, March 28, at the Hanover College Invitational.