North Central (Ill.) Opens 2009 as Top Division III Men’s XC Team

By Keith Nunez, USTFCCCA

August 26, 2009   

NEW ORLEANS (August 26, 2009) – North Central College has been selected as the No. 1 team in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Men’s Cross Country Top 35 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the USTFCCCA announced Wednesday. North Central received six of the eight first-place votes and earned 278 total points.

The Cardinals were the runners-up at the 2008 NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships, the highest finish for the program since 2004. North Central and Head Coach Al Carius will look to improve on that finish from ’08 to earn the programs 18th Division III national title. North Central returns five of their top seven from a year ago including USTFCCCA All-American Michael Spain.

Ranked second in the coaches’ preseason poll is Wisconsin La Crosse. La Crosse earned 270 total points and returns five of seven runners from the 2008 team that finished sixth overall at the national championships. La Crosse finished second at the 2008 Midwest Region championships and third at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships.

Last year’s NCAA Division III National Champions, Cortland State, opens up as the third-ranked team in Division III having earned 267 total points and picking up two of the eight first-place votes. Cortland State returns five of seven runners from last year’s national championship squad (all seniors) including Seth Dubois who finished seventh overall as an individual in 2008.

Coming in at No. 4 in the men’s preseason poll is Williams College. The Ephs finished third overall at the national meet last year after winning both the New England Small College Athletic Conference and New England Region titles. Williams earned 256 points in this week’s poll.

Completing the top-five is Geneseo State with 248 points. Geneseo State finished eighth as a team at the NCAA Division III meet last year and returns all seven runners from that squad for 2009. Geneseo State finished second at the State University of New York Athletic Conference championships and third at the Atlantic Region championships in 2008.

To view the complete 2009 USTFCCCA Division III Cross Country Preseason Top 35, click here.