CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Eastern Michigan men's and Toledo women's cross country teams were picked to win their respective titles at the 2010 MAC Cross Country championship as voted on by the league's head cross country coaches.
Eastern Michigan finished second at last year's MAC Men's Cross Country Championships. The Eagles will have the services of senior captain Matt Hammersmith and sophomore James Hughes this season as they look to replace 2009 first team All-MAC member Curtis Vollmar from a year ago. Hughes was a second team All-MAC performer after finishing ninth at last season's championship (26:12.6), while Hammersmith earned second team All-MAC honors, as his time of 26:18.6 was good for 10th place.
Kent State was picked to finish second behind Eastern Michigan after bringing home the 2009 Cross Country title. The Golden Flashes were followed by Miami and Central Michigan, while Akron and Toledo rounded out the top six spots in the poll. Buffalo, Ohio and Bowling Green rounded out the men's poll.
The Toledo women, who finished sixth at the Regional in 2009 and were MAC Runner-up, are looking for their first MAC title since 2002 as well as a bid to the NCAA Championships. Junior Ari Fisher will look to defend her MAC Cross Country title in the upcoming season. Fisher, who was not a varsity runner heading into the 2009 Championship season, heads into the 2010 season having also won the MAC Indoor 5000-meter title (narrowly missing the meet record) in 16:38. She also improved outdoors to 16:24 for 5000-meters which is one of the fastest times ever recorded in MAC history. Fisher finished the 2009 season with an NCAA Championships bid, narrowly missing All-American status by less than one second in finishing 43rd.
Miami was picked to finish in second place on the women's side after winning the title last season, while Central Michigan was tabbed to finish third. Ohio, Eastern Michigan and Kent State filled out the top six sports in this year's poll. Akron (seventh), Western Michigan (eighth), Bowling Green (ninth), Northern Illinois (10th), Ball State (11th) and Buffalo (12th) rounded out the women's poll.
The 2010 Mid-American Conference Cross Country Championships, hosted by Western Michigan, will be held on Saturday, October 30, 2010.
2010 Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll
3. Central Michigan
5. Eastern Michigan
6. Kent State
8. Western Michigan
9. Bowling Green
10. Northern Illinois
11. Ball State
Predicted Women's Cross Country Champion: Toledo
2010 Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll
1. Eastern Michigan
2. Kent State
4. Central Michigan
9. Bowling Green
Predicted Men's Cross Country Champion: Eastern Michigan