CAMBRIDGE, Mass—University of New Hampshire, three-time defending champion, was picked to run away with its fourth consecutive America East Championship title in the 2009 America East men’s cross country coaches’ poll. New Hampshire received five of the possible eight first-place votes and earned 58 points.
Stony Brook, picked second with two first-place votes and 54 points, and Binghamton University, picked third with one first-place vote and 53 points, are hot on the heels of New Hampshire. Boston University received the remaining first-place vote and came in fourth in the poll with 47 points ahead of the University of Maine, which shares fifth-place with the University at Albany (32 points). University of Vermont (21), UMBC (19), and University of Hartford (8) came in seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively.
New Hampshire had four top-ten finishers in the 2008 championship and is returning three of them. The Wildcats return a strong group of upperclassmen, including fifth-place finisher graduate student Nicholas Decrescenzo (New Milford, Conn./New Milford), seventh-place finisher senior Joshua Kerns (Ridgefield, Conn./Ridgefield), ninth-place finisher graduate student Benjamin Jenkins (Francestown, N.H./Conval), and seniors Wesley Dinnan (Juneau, Alaska/Juneau-Douglas) and James Moseman (Remsen, N.Y./Holland-Patent), both top-20 finishers.
Edging out Binghamton by one point to claim second in the poll, the Seawolves are returning the top-two finishers at last year’s championship. At the 2008 championship, junior Tim Hodge (Tawa, New Zealand/Victoria University) placed first ahead of senior teammate Alex Felce (Stroud, England/Archway Comprehensive), who claimed first at the 2007 championship and who’s had top-ten finishes since joining the Stony Brook team.
Binghamton, whose top finisher in the 2007 championship placed 22nd, laid claim to two top-five finishers at the 2008 championship and will return both for the 2009 season. Third-place finisher graduate student Chris Gaube (Vestal, N.Y./ Vestal) and fourth-place finisher junior Erik Van Ingen (Marathon, N.Y./Marathon Canisius) will lead the Bearcats’ strongest group of incoming freshmen.
Picked by the coaches to finish sixth in 2008, Boston University placed fourth at last year’s championship led by sophomore Elliot Lehane (Brookline, Mass./Brookline), who finished 20th. The Terriers are looking for more improvement in 2009 and are returning a strong senior class, including one of their top runners, senior Eric Ashe (Hanson, Mass./Whitman-Hanson), who led the team throughout the fall before missing the final two events of the 2008 season.
Maine is predicted by the coaches to improve on its seventh-place finish at last year’s championship. Losing only two seniors, the Black Bears are returning their top finisher from the 2008 championship, sophomore Riley Masters (Bangor, Maine/Bangor).
Losing its top finisher to graduation, Albany will depend on the young talent of the team. Sophomore Richard Sniffen (Cohoes, N.Y./Shaker) finished second for Albany at last year’s championship and was followed by four of his classmates who all look to improve and lead the young Great Danes in the 2009 season.
The Catamounts are returning their top finisher at last year’s championship, senior Doug Maisey (Gwynedd Valley, Pa. /Wissahickon). Maisey who placed tenth at the 2008 championship is Vermont’s first top-ten finisher since 2001. Vermont will host the 2009 America East Championship on October 31.
Finishing fifth at the 2008 championship, UMBC is eighth in the poll this year after losing its only top-ten finisher last year, Anthony Kelhower, to graduation. The Retrievers will depend on their top returning finisher, junior Chris Bowie (Bethesda, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase), to lead the young team.
Hartford lost only one senior to graduation and is returning its top finisher, junior Jonas Hampton (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove).
2009 Preseason Poll
Rank Team (1st-place votes) Total
1. New Hampshire (5) 58
2. Stony Brook (2) 54
3. Binghamton (1) 53
4. Boston University (1) 47
T-5. Maine 32
T-5. Albany 32
7. Vermont 21
8. UMBC 19
9. Hartford 8