HIGH POINT, N.C. - For the fourth consecutive year, Queens University of Charlotte men’s cross country team has been selected as the top team in the coaches’ preseason poll. The Royals are looking to not only duplicate their 2010 performance, but improve upon their 12th place national championship finish. Mount Olive and Lees-McRae round out the top three while Pfeiffer University came in at #10.
Queens is in the hunt for its fourth Conference Carolinas Championship in five years, fifth consecutive Southeast Region Championship and its first NCAA National Team Championship. 2010 was an exciting year as senior Michael Crouch captured the first Queens and first Conference Carolinas cross country individual championship title.
First-Team All-Conference performers sophomore Felix Duchampt and graduate student Simon Stuetzel will lead the Royals in 2011. Both Duchampt and Stuetzel competed in the 2010 National Championship and will provide leadership to the team . Key returners are Benny Perez, Stefan Liotchev and Michael Hicks, while newcomers Chris Vilela and Chris Enriquez will bolster the team’s depth.
Mount Olive College returns its top five finishers from last year’s Conference Carolinas Men’s Cross Country Championships where the Trojans finished in second place. All-Conference performers Dalton Souza, Ronnie Sturgill and Paul Hoffman all broke a 10-year-old school record for the fastest time in the 8k at last year’s conference championship. Jamar Davis also earned All-Conference Carolinas honors last year, while Kerry Maloney was a 2009 All-Conference performer.
Lees-McRae College will look to build on the success of last season after finishing third at the Conference Carolinas Championships, and eighth at the Southeast Regional Championships. The Bobcats are third in the poll and face a demanding schedule this fall, but hope to rely on a strong returning core to carry them through the season and mentor a gifted group of newcomers. Senior Craig Simpkins who finished sixth at the conference championships last season with a school-record time, is joined by fellow seniors Luke Anton and Connor Gray to lead the veteran core for the Bobcats.
King finished fourth in the poll with Belmont Abbey fifth followed by Limestone, Erskine, Barton, Coker, Pfeiffer, and North Greenville respectively rounding-out the poll standings.
Conference Carolinas Men's Cross Country
(# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)
1. Queens - (10) 100
2. Mount Olive - 81
3. Lees-McRae - 73
4. King - 71
5. Belmont Abbey - (1) 62
6. Limestone - 58
7. Erskine - 50
8. Barton - 36
9. Coker - 30
10. Pfeiffer - 23
11. North Greenville - 21