Susquehanna Favored To Repeat
In Landmark Men's Cross Country Poll
Cardinals voted to the sixth spot
MADISON, N.J. - The Susquehanna University men's cross country has been established as the favorite to claim the second Landmark Men's Cross Country Championship as selected in the Landmark Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll. The men's cross country coaches and sports information directors at each institution that sponsors the sport were polled for the preseason ballot.
Susquehanna, which won the inaugural Landmark Championship in 2007, piled up 68 points in the voting to top the poll by a six-point margin. The United States Merchant Marine Academy is comfortably in the second spot in the poll, finishing with 62 points. Juniata College placed third with 55 points, and is followed by The University of Scranton which accumulated 48 points in the voting.
Led by the Landmark individual champion Paul Thistle, Susquehanna won the first Landmark Championship and have 11 runners returning. The Crusaders did graduate a pair of their top-five, but do return Thistle and two other top-20 finishers from the Landmark meet.
USMMA may have the deepest returning group of runners after the Mariners placed third at the Landmark Championships in 2007. Four of their top-five runners were freshmen or sophomores a year ago, and their top finisher Keith Wagner, who placed fourth at the Landmark meet, also returns.
Juniata was a narrow runner-up to Susquehanna at the Conference Championships in 2007 and placed third in the balloting. Matt Bailey placed third in the Landmark meet, one of four top-10 finishers for Juniata, but the team must find replacements for four seniors, including two of those top-10 performers.
Scranton brings back four of its top five runners from the team that ran to a fourth-place team finish at the Landmark Championships. Among the returnees is Chris Wasnetsky who was the second-place individual finisher at the Conference Championships and was picked as the Landmark Rookie of the Year.
Goucher College captured fifth-place in the polling by accumulating 36 points and feature an experienced roster in 2008. The Gophers did not graduate a single runner from a team that place fifth at the Landmark Championships and will be led by Zach Martin and Matt Spitznagel who were both top-20 finishers.
Moravian College was seventh at the Landmark Championships, and holds sixth-place in the preseason polling with 27 points. The Greyhounds return each of their top-five runners from the Championships, including top-12 finishers Jeremiah Reinhart and Connor Skutches.
The Catholic University of America holds the seventh spot in the polling with 26 points. Andrew Smith was CUA's top finisher at the Landmark meet and he returns along with each of the team's point producers from the group that placed sixth at the Conference Championships.
Drew University rounds out the poll in eighth place with 14 points in the voting. The Rangers should bring back all of their point-scoring runners from the championship meet, and four of their top-five finishers were either freshmen or sophomores last year. Andrew Ehlart was the team's top finisher at the Landmark meet.
Several Landmark teams will begin 2008 competition in meets on August 29, and the Landmark Championships hosted by Juniata will take place on November 1.