MARS HILL, N.C. – Athletic Director David Riggins and the Mars Hill University Athletics Department announce the addition of women's lacrosse for the 2017-18 season. Also announced is inaugural head coach, Kristina Llanes. Llanes will spend the 2016-17 season on the recruiting trail before placing MHU's first women's lacrosse team on the field in the spring of 2018.
Riggins stated, "Mars Hill University welcomes Coach Llanes to the Lion Athletic Family. We are so fortunate to land a head coach with such extensive head coaching experience. The fact that she has experience in developing a first year collegiate program is value added."
Llanes brings an abundance of knowledge to Mars Hill after spending the previous four years at Kennesaw State. Taking over another new program in the Owls, she led the team to the Atlantic Sun tournament in just her first season at the helm, while also helping her players garner postseason accolades.
Llanes stated, "I want to thank President Lunsford and Athletic Director David Riggins for the opportunity to develop the women's lacrosse program of Mars Hill University. The addition of women's lacrosse will continue to bring outstanding student athletes to the university community."
Llanes joined the Owls after last coaching in the collegiate ranks in the spring of 2011 as the head coach at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. for three seasons. While with the Blue Hose she helped build a program that was only a year old when she took the reins.
In 2011, her final season with the Blue Hose, Llanes guided Presbyterian to its best season in program history, while also leading a team with no seniors to wins over Fresno State, Liberty, and Detroit in the National Lacrosse Conference Tournament.
Before Llanes joined the Blue Hose she was the head women's lacrosse coach at SUNY Maritime College in Throggs Neck, NY for three seasons. She helped launch the program, which is now part of the Division III Skyline Conference. Under her guidance, the Privateers earned their first win as a varsity sport – an 18-5 victory over Pine Manor on Mar. 17, 2008. The team was awarded the Skyline Conference Sportsmanship Award in 2008, the Privateers first full season in the league.
Prior to her time at SUNY Maritime, Llanes spent one year as the assistant coach at Averett University, in Danville, Va. In addition to working with the Division III Cougars of the South Athletic Conference, she served as the assistant coach to the boy's team at Hargrave Military Academy.
Llanes was a four-year starter at Pfeiffer University, where she earned a B.A. in Communications in 2004. As a senior, Llanes helped lead the Falcons to the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference championship and a No.7 spot in the final Division II rankings.
A native of Traceys Landing, Md., Llanes currently resides in Asheville, N.C. with her dog, Chloe.