HIGH POINT, NC - Queens University of Charlotte has been selected to the No. 1 spot in this year’s preseason poll as voted on by league head coaches. After two years of seventh place finishes at the NCAA National Championships, the Royals are not only set to defend their perfect-score Conference Carolinas Championship title, but are also hoping for a top-three national finish. Pfeiffer University was selected to finish fifth in the ten-team league.
The Royals will be led by two-time NCAA individual national track champion Michael Crouch who was sidelined during the 2009 season with a hernia, but returned to form at the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships with a runner-up finish in the 5000-meters. Queens also returns 1500-meter All-American Simon Stuetzel, NCAA national indoor 800-meter runner-up Nelson Mwangi, and 2009 Conference Carolinas Cross Country Freshman of the Year Alex Schilling. Transfers Felix Duchampt and Michael Hicks are expected to make impacts as are freshman Colin Guillard and Hendrik Huschka.
The 2010 Lees-McRae College men’s cross country team returns six juniors from a 2009 season where they took second place in the Conference Carolinas Championship and fourth in the Southeast Region. Head coach Thomas Cason returns Sondre Thorbergsen, who finished 11th in conference, Craig Simpkins, who finished 16th, and Michael Davis, who finished 17th; Luke Anton, Jordan Gillespie and Connor Gray round out the Bobcat returners.
Cason added three freshmen and a transfer to the 2010 Bobcats. Jared Lupton transferred from the College of Idaho while freshman Austin High, Will McCoy and Doni McCarty complete the team.
“We returned a great junior class this year,” Cason said. “With the addition of a talented group of newcomers, we now have all the tools necessary to take our program to a higher level. I look forward to coaching each of these young men as we strive to accomplish our team goals this season.”
Mount Olive College returns all of its top five finishers from a squad that posted the team’s best conference tournament performance and highest regional ranking in eight years. The Trojans placed fourth at last year’s Conference Carolinas Championship, coming within two points of a top three finish. Mount Olive was ranked as high as No. 9 in the USTFCCCA Southeast Region Poll and finished 10th in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.
Kerry “Bear” Maloney finished 13th out of 82 runners in the 2009 Conference Carolinas Championship and earned All-Conference Carolinas third team honors. Maloney notched three top five finishes in 2009 and finished 10th out of 75 non-Division I runners at the UNC-Charlotte Invitational. Paul Hoffman recorded three top 10 finishes last year and Kevin Ryan had two top 10’s. Ronnie Sturgill and Chris Menjares rounded out the Trojans’ top five at the conference and regional championships. All five runners are juniors this year.
Erskine finished fourth in the poll with Pfeiffer fifth followed by Limestone, St. Andrews, Belmont Abbey, Barton, and Coker respectively rounding-out the poll standings.
Conference Carolinas Men’s Cross Country Pre-Season Poll (first place votes in parenthesis)