The preseason polls have picked the WCU men’s cross country team to finish in 12th place. The Women’s cross country team did not fare any better, and were selected to finish in 13th place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).Last season the men’s cross country team ended the 2009 campaign finishing 12th out of 15 in the PSAC Championships that took place in Edinboro, Pa. A few weeks after the Championships, WCU finished 16th in the NCAA East Regionals.
The Lady Rams cross country team ended their 2009 season finishing 10th out of 16 in the PSAC Championships, and took 11th place in the NCAA East Regional’s.
On a bright note, both the men’s and women’s teams were recognized for their overall team GPA by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The men’s team had an overall GPA of 3.20. The women’s team had an overall GPA of 3.64, which was sixth among Division II programs.
To be eligible for this honor, teams must list all student athletes whose names appear on the NCAA eligibility form and who have competed in 50 percent or more of the cross country competitions on the team’s schedule. Additionally, the team must compete at the NCAA Division II regional championships and have a team cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
For the second straight year, the Shippensburg women’s cross country team has been unanimously chosen to win the PSAC, garnering all 16 first place votes, while the Red Raider men’s team has also been selected to win the PSAC, ending a two-year run of Edinboro being picked first in the PSAC preseason men’s cross country poll.
The Shippensburg men’s team received 10 out of the 15 votes to come in first, only narrowly edging out second place Lock Haven University. The defending PSAC champion Bald Eagles received three first place votes.
Edinboro, the men’s favorite in both of the two previous men’s cross country preseason polls, which began in 2008, came in third and got the two remaining first place votes. The Fighting Scots finished second at last year’s PSAC meet and were the top PSAC finisher at the NCAA meet in 12th. East Stroudsburg and Slippery Rock rounded out the top five.
The Lady Raiders, the two-time defending PSAC champions, are the unanimous favorite to make it three straight this year, easily outdistancing second place Slippery Rock, which finished in third place at last year’s PSAC meet.
Kutztown came in third after making a late-season push by finishing second at the NCAA regional meet and being the top PSAC finisher at the NCAA meet in 14th place, which all came after a fifth place showing at the PSAC met. Lock Haven and Millersville rounded out the top five.
Shippensburg’s men return with an astounding six of seven runners that started on its NCAA Atlantic Regional championship team. The Red Raiders also finished 13th at the NCAA meet. Senior Bryan Beegle leads the way after a third place finish at the NCAA regional meet. He also finished 73rd at the NCAA meet.
Shippensburg’s women are coming off their second straight PSAC and NCAA regional titles and behind junior Neely Spence and senior Mary Dell, two of the top distance runners in the PSAC, will be chasing their third straight titles at both meets this year. The Lady Raiders also return all seven runners who started on its NCAA regional championship team last year.
The men’s and women’s cross country team opens their 2010 season on September 4 with a meet against Delaware Valley College that will take place in Doylestown, Pa. The meet starts at 10:00 a.m.
Listed below are the preseason PSAC men’s and women’s cross country coaches’ polls.
12. West Chester
12. East Stroudsburg
13. West Chester
Steven Fisher is a fourth-year student majoring in communications and minoring in journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.