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
School (1st-Place Votes)
Southern Illinois (5)
Wichita State (4)
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
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
2010 Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll
School (1st-Place Votes)
Wichita State (7)
Illinois State (2)
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).