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Men Picked 8th, Women 9th, in Preseason MVC Cross Country Polls
Release: 08/19/2010
Liam Dawson

Southern Illinois and Indiana State men and Wichita State women have been tabbed as the 2010 favorites by a vote of Missouri Valley Conference cross country coaches in their annual preseason poll. Creighton's men's squad were tied for eighth in the poll, while the women were selected by ninth.

After a tight race last year, the battle for first will continue in 2010 as Southern Illinois and Indiana State were picked as this year's co-preseason favorites. The Salukis, who took five of the first-place votes earning 74 points, will be a young squad with four freshman and four sophomores. The team will be led by seniors Kyle Kirchner and Dan Dunbar who finished eighth and ninth, respectively, at the 2009 MVC Cross Country Championship, earning spots on the All-MVC Cross Country Team.

 

2010 Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll

Rank

School (1st-Place Votes)

Points 

T1st

Southern Illinois (5)

74 

T1st 

Wichita State (4)

74 

3rd

Illinois State 

63 

4th 

Wichita State

50 

5th 

UNI 

48 

6th 

Drake 

38 

7th 

Bradley 

28 

T8th 

Creighton 

15 

T8th 

Evansville 

15 

Indiana State, last year's champion and the other co-preseason favorite took the remaining four first-place votes, for a total of 74 points. The Sycamores return three top-ten finishers from the 2009 season in senior Michael Disher and juniors Jeremiah Vaughan and Craig Padgett. Sophomore Albaro Escalera will also look to add to the success of the team after taking 11th at the USA Track & Field Cross Country Championship.

Illinois State came in at the No. 3 spot earning 63 points. Even though the Redbirds lost last year's defending champion Scott Krapf to graduation, they return all other varsity runners. The team will look to seniors Matt Mroczynski and Jon Roberts to lead the way after their strong finishes at the 2009 MVC Cross Country Championship. John Navarro and Jim Link will add depth to the roster as they return this season after being redshirted for a year.

Wichita State notched the fourth position in the preseason poll, tallying 50 points. Under new coach Kirk  Hunter's expertise, the Shockers will look to improve upon last year's performance. Senior Marius Sava will lead the Shocks after his 24th-place finish in 2009. Juniors Trace Kendrick (46th) and Scott Ufford (48th) will look to make their mark as the 2010 season starts.

UNI is picked fifth, securing 48 points and returning their top-seven finishers from the MVC Championship in 2009. Thibault Vandenabeele will lead the pack after earning an automatic berth to the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championship. The Panthers' top finisher will garner support from junior Alex Mark and sophomore Brett Egan who finished 17th and 21st, respectively, in 2009.

Drake is picked sixth with 38 points, while Bradley took the seventh place spot having 28 points. The Bulldogs' return five of the eight runners who competed in last season's championship. Drake's top finisher from 2009, junior Derek Campbell, will pace the team again this year with help from junior Colin Hagan and senior Michael Bumgarner. The Braves will have strong senior leadership, as five seniors return this year. Sophomore Jon Richards, Bradley's top finisher in 2009 (27th) and seniors Andrew Wieser (29th) and Billy Miller (33rd) will benefit from the wisdom of new coach Marc Burns as they run their way into the new season.

Creighton and Evansville are tied for eighth place in the preseason poll with 15 points each.

The Jays' will have a young team this season as they welcome back just two of the eight runners who competed at last year's championship with Casey Jergenson as their top runner.

Senior Ryan Witters will lead the way on the trails for the Purple Aces after his 16th place finish at the 2009 MVC Championship. Senior Christopher Kipchirchir and sophomore Cody Stein will add to the strength of the 2010 team.

After claiming its fifth-straight women's MVC Championship team title in 2009, Wichita State is the preseason favorite getting seven first-place votes for 97 points. The Shockers' will be led by 2009 All-MVC Women's Cross Country honoree Tonya Nero who took third at the MVC Championships and 15th at the NCAA Midwest Regionals. Teammate Leah Thompson (6th) returns to help blaze the trails. Wichita State strengthened their squad by recruiting Scarla Nero, Tonya Nero's sister, a national champion at the junior-college level.

 

2010 Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll

Rank 

School (1st-Place Votes)

Points 

1st 

Wichita State (7)

97 

2nd

Illinois State (2)

88 

3rd

Missouri State 

71 

4th

Bradley (1)

67 

5th

Indiana State 

64 

6th

Southern Illinois 

62 

7th

UNI 

38 

8th

Drake 

32 

9th

Creighton 

21 

10th

Evansville 

10 

Illinois State was a solid second choice in the preseason poll, earning 88 total points and two first-place votes. The Redbirds welcome back all the student-athletes from the 2009 second-place squad. Six seniors return, led by Sarah Glowacki and Kirsten Lang who took 8th and 10th, respectively, last season. Junior Aisha Praught will add depth after her top-20 finish at the 2009 Championship. The Redbirds also bring in six freshman who hope to make their mark this season.

Missouri State, who sits in the third slot with 71 points, has five of their top-eight runners returning and are ready to hit the ground running. The Bears will be led by the 2009 MVC Women's Cross Country Individual Champion Terry Phillips. Phillips came in 18th at the 2009 NCAA Midwest Regional and will be a top contender this year. Sophomores Ashton Stubbs (22nd) and Emily Beaver (25th) will help push the Bears to the finish line as well.

Bradley tallied 67 points, the remaining first-place vote and fourth place. The Braves return two top-fifteen finishers from the 2009 Championship in senior Mary Goldkamp (5th) and Emily Gustafson (11th).

Indiana State came in a close fifth earning 64 points with half of the runners who competed in last year's championship returning. Not only will Allison Malone provide the Sycamores with senior leadership, but she will be their top runner as she finished 7th in 2009, finishing with All-MVC Women's Cross Country honors. Malone will have support from junior Kacie Klem (20th) and Jessica Zangmeister, a transfer from the University of Kentucky who was a Foot Locker Finalist two years ago.

Southern Illinois is picked sixth with a total of 62 points. The Salukis' will follow the lead of the senior trio Ryan Eichelberger, Megan Hoelscher and Emily Toennies who all finished in the top-25 at last year's championship. Toni Whitfield and Jamie Pfister add depth to the roster with their experience.

UNI notched the seventh position with 38 points as they bring back seven of its top-eight runners. Juniors Danielle Nowasell and Carly Olsen and sophomore Lindsey Wilkins are in the Panthers' top positions entering the season.

Drake earned eighth in the preseason poll with 32 points, while Creighton (21) and Evansville (10) round out the final positions.

Drake welcomes back six of its top-seven competitors, including senior Casey McDermott, the Bulldogs top finisher (9th) from last season's squad. Katie Coomer and Meredith Bell will also be on the trails to provide veteran experience.

Creighton returns only three runners from its 2009 squad. The five freshman, one sophomore and one junior will look to senior Carleen O'Brien for veteran experience.  

Evansville returns six of its runners who competed in the 2009 MVC Championship. The Purple Aces will be led by their top finisher last year, sophomore Lauren Zeabart (49th).


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