Cambridge, Mass.Defending men’s cross country champion Binghamton University has been selected by America East coaches as the preseason favorite in the conference. With 57 points, including six first-place votes, the Bearcats look to repeat as conference champions.

Binghamton is followed closely by a pack of challengers. Stony Brook University falls in second place with 49 points and two first-place votes, just ahead of University of New Hampshire’s 48 points in third place and Boston University, which grabbed fourth with 47 points and the remaining first-place vote. University at Albany comes in at fifth with 37 points and University of Maine is sixth with 34 points. University of Vermont checks in at the seventh spot with 27 points, ahead of eighth-place UMBC, with 17 points, and ninth-place University of Hartford, taking eight points.

The Bearcats, who won the 2009 championship, return talent and depth to the 2010 roster. Seven of the eight Binghamton runners to finish in the top 21 at the championship meet is back this season. That depth has the Bearcats ranked seventh in the Northeast region. Among the returning runners are senior Eric van Ingen (Marathon, N.Y./Marathon (Canisius)), who won the championship race in 2009 and competed in the 2009 NCAA meet. Also adding to the experience and depth of the lineup are seniors Chris Gaube (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal), Casey Quaglia (Bangor, Maine/Bangor), Adam Quinn (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) and Andrew Ugolino (West Hurley, N.Y./Onteora), and sophomore Jeff Martinez (Binghamton, N.Y./Johnson City). 

The Seawolves, last year’s third-place finisher, lose two of their top three finishers from 2009 to graduation. However, they do return senior Tim Hodge (Tawa, New Zealand/Victoria University), who finished sixth at the championship meet last year and won the race in 2008, as well as a deep group of juniors. The juniors are highlighted by Gerard Harley (Setauket, N.Y./Ward Melville), who finished 27th at the 2009 meet.

New Hampshire, runner-up at the 2009 championship, heads into 2010 with a young roster. The Wildcats do not have a single senior and have just two juniors on the roster, but do boast nine sophomores and 15 freshmen. Their top returning runner is sophomore Daniel DeCrescenzo (New Milford, Conn./New Milford), who will provide championship experience to the youthful Wildcats.

Boston University looks to improve on its sixth-place finish at last year’s championship. To do that, they will look to juniors Peter Gilmore (Hanson, Mass./Whitman-Hanson) and Elliot Lehane (Brookline, Mass./Brookline), as well as senior Ken Haltom (Memphis, Tenn./Memphis University School), to lead a veteran squad with 13 juniors and seniors. Gilmore finished 15th in the 2009 championship race.

The Great Danes finished fourth at the championship meet a year ago. Their top six runners in that race, all of whom finished in the top 32 runners overall, return to pace the 2010 squad. Among those returning are juniors Paul Lagno (Salt Point, N.Y./Millbrook) and Chris Manico (Watervliet, N.Y./Shaker). Sophomore Sean Halpin (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Iona Prep), who finished 20th in the championship race, was Albany’s top finisher as a freshman.

Maine, seventh-place finishers in 2009, lost its top finisher from a year ago, but brings back a solid pair of juniors in David Currier (Sidney, Maine/Messalonskee) and Spencer McElwain (Caribou, Maine/Caribou). The Black Bears also look forward to the return of junior Riley Masters (Bangor, Maine/Bangor). Masters did not compete last year due to injury. Currier and McElwain finished 29th and 30th, respectively, in the championship race, and look to improve on those finishes in 2010.

Vermont finished fifth in last year’s championship meet. This year, the Catamounts lose their top two runners from 2009, but do return seven athletes who competed in the championship meet. The returnees are highlighted by sophomore Andy Stillman (Norfolk, Mass./Xaverian Brothers).

UMBC, which finished eighth in 2009, has a wealth of fresh faces in its program. Nine freshmen join the 2010 squad. The young team will look to seniors  Chris Bowie (Bethesda, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase), Michael Christmas (Invercargill, New Zealand/James Hargest College) and Chris Snyder (McConnellsburg, Pa./McConnellsburg) for leadership.

Hartford finished in ninth place at the 2009 championship meet. This year, the Hawks will look to seniors Jonas Hampton (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove), the Hawks’ top returner, and Josh Hummel (Wilbraham, Mass./Minnechaug) for production and leadership.

Men’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.    Binghamton (6)    57
2.    Stony Brook (2)     49
3.    New Hampshire    48
4.    Boston University (1)    47
5.    Albany    37
6.    Maine    34
7.    Vermont    27
8.    UMBC    17
9.    Hartford    8