Juniata Favored In Landmark
Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll
Cardinals selected fourth overall
MADISON, N.J. - After claiming the inaugural Landmark Women's Cross Country Championship in 2007, the Juniata College women's cross country team has been picked as the favorite to repeat as selected in the Landmark Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll. The women's cross country coaches and sports information directors at each institution that sponsors the sport were polled for the preseason ballot.
Juniata finished as the prohibitive favorite, piling up 70 points, 11 ahead of the second-place team. Moravian College holds the second spot with 59 points, closely followed by Susquehanna University in third with 54 points. The Catholic University of America holds the fourth spot after earning 46 points in the voting.
Juniata brings back all five of its point scorers from the team that claimed the Landmark Championship in 2007. The Eagles did not have a single senior on the 2007 roster, and have three All-Conference runners back, led by first-team All-Conference and All-Region performer Laura Rupprecht.
Moravian loses only two runners from a team that finished as the runners-up at the Landmark Championships last season. Kayla Teeling was the runner up in the Landmark meet and her teammate Tara Chiarella was the Rookie of the Year as she placed fourth and both return for the 2008 season.
Susquehanna's Alycia Woodruff was the Landmark individual champion last season as a freshman, and went on to earn All-Region honors and compete at the NCAA Championships. She returns this year, along with another top-10 finisher Laura Gausmann from the team that placed fourth at the Landmark meet.
CUA had three All-Conference performers in 2007, which was good enough to help the Cardinals to a third-place conference finish. Jenna Hackett is back after pacing the team at the Landmark meet by placing fourth but the team did lose two of its top-five runners, including an NCAA Championship qualifier.
The University of Scranton claimed the fifth spot in the poll, accumulating 39 points in the voting. The Royals lost their only All-Conference performer to graduation but will try and overcome that with depth as the team returns nine other runners, paced by Stephanie Huth who finished 19th at the Landmark meet.
Drew University earned 25 points in the poll to claim the sixth position in the preseason poll. The Rangers feature one of the deepest returning rosters in the conference as the squad brings back all of its five point scorers from the Landmark Championships, led by Chelsea Boska who was 17th a season ago.
The United States Merchant Marine Academy were tied for sixth at the Landmark Championships and claimed the seventh spot in the preseason poll with 22 points. Lindsay Watkins figures to be the team's top returnee as the Mariners have six runners back in the fold, but will need to replace three top-25 finishers.
Goucher College rounds out the preseason poll with 18 points after placing eighth as a team at the Landmark meet. Four of the team's top-five will be back with senior Becky Foner leading the way, but the Gouchers did lose their top finisher who competed at the NCAA Championships.
Several teams will begin 2008 competition in meets on August 29, and the Landmark Championships hosted by Juniata will take place on November 1.