Cleveland, Ohio- The Mid American Conference released its 2006 preseason poll on Wednesday, August 16. The preseason poll, voted on by the head coaches, named Eastern Michigan men’s cross country team as the winner of both the regular season and the MAC Championship for the second year in a row.
The Eagles, who are the MAC 2005 defending champions, placed fifth at the 2005 NCAA Great Lake Regionals and 24th at the NCAA championships. Head coach John Goodridge, tabbed coach of the year for 2005, returns first team All-MAC selections Corey Nowitzke (Sr.), who placed second (24:25) overall in last year’s MAC championship, and Josh Karanja (So.), who placed sixth (24:47) overall in last year’s MAC championship. Also returning are second team All-MAC selections Kyle Mena (So.) and Alan Walker (Sr.).
Miami University was tabbed to finish second for the 2006 regular season. Warren Mandrell, Miami’s head coach, will return 10 starters from the ?05 season and will welcome three freshmen for the ?06 season. The RedHawks, who finished second in the MAC Championship and placed 22nd at the NCAA Pre-Invitational last year, look forward to another great season.
Central Michigan University, who placed 13th at the NCAA Regional Championship last year was voted to finish third by the MAC head coaches. The Chippewas will return 10 starters this season. Matt Loiselle (Jr.), finished 92nd (30:56) in the 2005 NCAA Championships, Jeff Powers (Sr.) finished 27th (32:02) and Andrew Manning (Jr.) finished 87th (33:41:3) in the 2005 NCAA Regional Championships. Seniors Tom Ruddy and Frank Therrian will also round out the top returners for CMU.
Kent State University was selected to finish fourth for the upcoming season. Finishing in fourth place in 2005, Kent State looks to move up under the direction of first year coach Mark Croghan. The Golden Flashes, who finished 15th at the NCAA Regional Championship, will return five seniors. All-MAC second team selection Seth Hutchinson is one of five veteran starters for the Flashes. Ben Weitmanschen (Sr.), Mike Inge (Sr.), Ray Armstrong (Sr.) and Ryan Spellman (Sr.) conclude the list.
Ohio University and the University at Buffalo round out the top six finshers for the 2006 preseason poll. Ohio, who is ranked number five, placed third in the MAC championships and 11th at NCAA Regionals last year. Ohio will welcome back three seniors, two juniors and seven sophomores. The Bulls were picked to finish in sixth place. Buffalo finished their ?05 season with a seventh place finish in the MAC and 11th place finish at the NCAA Northeast Regional. The Bulls welcome back four seniors, four juniors and two sophomores. Following behind Buffalo is Akron University at number seven who finished sixth in the MAC Championships and 16th in the NCAA Regional Championships last year. The Zips look forward to the return of David Howard who was named to the All-MAC second team and placed 10th (25:06) in the MAC Championships. Bowling Green State University holds the eighth position for the 2006 poll. The Falcons finished eighth at the MAC Championships and 27th at the NCAA Regional Championships. Coach Wells will welcome back three top runners. The University of Toledo concludes the 2006 preseason poll at number nine. The Rockets will welcome back six senior runners as they look to a successful ?06 season.
The University at Buffalo will host the 2006 Mid American Conference Cross Country Championships on Saturday, October 28 in Buffalo, N.Y.