Cambridge, Mass.—For the third straight year, the Stony Brook University women’s cross country team has been chosen as the preseason favorite to win the conference and defend its America East championship. The Seawolves received all eight possible first place votes, pacing the field with 64 points overall.

University of New Hampshire racked up 48 points to grab the second spot in the poll, followed closely by University of Maine in third with 47 points. Boston University took the remaining first-place vote, ranking fourth overall in the poll with 44 points. University of Vermont grabbed fifth place with 35 points, just a few points ahead of University at Albany and Binghamton University, which tied for sixth place with 31 points each. UMBC and University of Hartford round out the field with 16 and eight points, respectively. 

The Seawolves have garnered regional and national attention this season, coming in third in the Northeast region and getting 15 votes in the national coaches’ poll. The Seawolves had seven runners finish in the top 18 at the championship meet last season, including three of the top four finishers. Five of those women return for the 2010 campaign, led by seniors Holly and Lucy Van Dalen (Wanganui, New Zealand/Wanganui Collegiate), who finished second and third, respectively, in 2009.

Last season’s fourth-place finisher New Hampshire counts on a depth of returnees as it looks forward to the 2010 season. The Wildcats had six runners finish in the top 32 at the championship meet, with four of those runners returning in 2010. Among them are senior Allison Letourneau (Kingstown, Nova Scotia/Berkshire Prep School) and junior Elizabeth Campbell (Colonia, N.J./Mt. St. Mary’s), both of whom finished in the top 20.

Maine, which is ranked third in the conference by the coaches, placed second in the 2009 championship meet. The Black Bears return their top runner in junior Corey Conner (Townsend, Mass./North Middlesex Regional). Conner won the championship race as a sophomore, earning the top individual honor.  She also competed as the individual in the NCAA meet. Maine loses four seniors from last year’s squad, but returns key contributors in senior Allison Conner (Townsend, Mass./North Middlesex Regional) and sophomore Whitney Chamberlain (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough).

Boston University, which tied for fifth at last year’s championship, heads into the 2010 season led by junior Kathryn Matthews (Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill). Matthews placed eighth in the 2009 championship. Senior Kathleen Davies (Huntington Valley, Pa./St. Basil Academy) returns after finishing 26th at the meet.

Vermont, last year’s third-place finisher, will lean on juniors Morgan Powers (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hills) and Bo Dunn (Harvard, Mass./The Bromfield School), as well as sophomore Debbie Isen (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman), after losing Alyson Millett to graduation. Powers placed ninth in the championship meet last season.

Albany, which tied Boston University for fifth at last year’s championship, brings back junior Ada Lauterbach (East Berne, N.Y./Berne-Knox-Westerlo) and sophomore Miranda McConnell (Liverpool, N.Y./Liverpool), two of its top runners from last year.

Binghamton, which tied Albany for sixth in the preseason and finished seventh at the championship meet, returns nine of its 10 runners from last year’s meet. Top performer sophomore Rachel Miura (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./John Jay) finished 10th at the meet.

UMBC brings youth to the table, with five incoming freshmen and only two seniors. One of those seniors is Sara Parkinson (Lancashire, England/Loughborough University), who finished sixth in the championship meet. The team finished eighth at the meet.

Hartford, which finished ninth at the championship meet, also brings in a handful of newcomers, with five freshmen joining the team. Kayla Koonz (Gardiner, N.Y./New Paltz) is the only returning Hawk to have run in the 2009 championship meet.

Women’s cross country competition kicks off Friday, September 3, with UMBC in the Mount St. Mary’s Dual 5K and New Hampshire running at the Bryant Invitational. Albany, Maine and Stony Brook kick their seasons off Saturday. Binghamton, Boston University, Hartford and Vermont start next weekend.

 

2010 Preseason Poll
Rank    Team (1st-place votes)    Total
1.    Stony Brook (8)    64
2.    New Hampshire     48
3.    Maine    47
4.    Boston University (1)    44
5.    Vermont    35
T-6.    Albany    31
T-6.    Binghamton    31
8.    UMBC    16
9.    Hartford    8