Times West Virginian
Most expect big things for Fairmont State’s basketball teams this season.
Apparently, the West Virginia Conference coaches do, too.
With five returning starters, including reigning league Player of the Year Kaitlin Snyder, the Falcons’ women’s team were tabbed as the runaway conference favorite on Thursday.
FSU (18-10 last season, 14-8 in the league) was listed first on 11 ballots while garnering 218 total points to lead the field. Glenville State (23-7, 18-4) picked up one first-place vote en route to 190 points and the No. 2 spot. West Liberty (15-15, 11-11) received a first-place vote and 174 points for third place. Concord (23-6, 18-4) garnered the remaining two first-place votes and was fourth at 167.
Snyder, an NCAA Division II All-American who accounted for 21.5 points, 4.4 assists and 2.7 steals a game a season ago. The Falcons also return a trio of double-figure scorers in Hailey Garrett (14.3 ppg), Tiffany Nicholson (10.5 ppg) and Emily Lohr (10.3 ppg) along with returning starting guard Briana Welch.
On the men’s side, FSU was picked to finish third under first-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun.
West Liberty, who went 32-3 last season earn its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, were again picked first. The Hilltoppers are gunning for a fourth straight league title.
West Liberty (32-3, 21-1) garnered 14 first-place votes and 224 total points to lead the field, besting No. 2 Charleston (26-7, 18-4) for the top spot. The Golden Eagles, who dropped a 93-90 overtime decision to the Hilltoppers in last year’s WVIAC Tournament championship game, received 201 points in the voting. UC also earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
FSU (9-18, 7-15) picked up one first-place nod and 191 total points for third place in the poll. West Virginia State (14-13, 12-10) tallied 156 points for fourth while Alderson-Broaddus (18-10, 14-8) notched 146 points and is picked to finish fifth.
For a full list of preseason polls, see Page 3B.