SUNY Cobleskill Earns Top Ranking in 2017 NEAC Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll

SUNY Cobleskill Earns Top Ranking in 2017 NEAC Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – In a closely-contested vote, the SUNY Cobleskill Fighting Tigers edged out four-time defending champion SUNY Poly by two points to earn the top spot in the 2017 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) men’s cross country preseason poll.  

SUNY Cobleskill received six first-place votes and four second-place votes to help reach 130 total points. After a third-place finish at the 2016 NEAC Championship, the Fighting Tigers return eight runners with five that have earned all-conference honors during their careers. Senior Anthony Bouchard (Wantagh, N.Y.) leads the group as a three-time First Team All-NEAC honoree. Bouchard finished third at the conference championship and earned All-ECAC honors in 2016. The trio of Zach Jacobson (Berkshire, N.Y.), Josh Foust (West Sand Creek, N.Y.) and Willie Griffin (Schoharie, N.Y.) also bring plenty of experience to head coach Mitchell Tomaszkiewicz’s squad after all three earned third team all-conference nods last fall.

Reigning NEAC Champion SUNY Poly placed second with 128 total points, which included five first-place votes and four second-place votes. The Wildcats’ return three of their top-five finishers from the 2016 conference championship with NEAC Co-Rookie of the Year Christopher Bouchard (Latham, N.Y.) leading the way. All-Conference selections Oliver Crain (Syracuse, N.Y.), Derek Smith (Rochester, N.Y.) and Ian Kurzrock (Woodbourne, N.Y.) will provide some leadership for an otherwise young group that hopes to rebuild its depth for head coach Bill Tylutki.

With the final two first-place votes, Morrisville State College totaled 105 points and ranked third in the preseason poll. Head coach Derek Powers will look for his group to build off each other in hopes of rebounding from the loss of the Mustangs’ top four men, including NEAC Runner of the Year and Individual Champion Byron Evans (Cazenovia, N.Y.).

Lancaster Bible placed fourth with 84 points as Ryan Gehman prepares for his first year at the helm with the Chargers. Second-Team All-Conference honoree Tanner Krob (Lisbon, Iowa) is expected to be a key returner after finishing 14th at the 2016 NEAC event. Sophomores Clay Brenner (Douglassville, Pa.) and Tyler McNair (Lancaster, Pa.) should also serve as key returners in 2017.

Penn College received 83 points to close out the top five in this year’s poll. NEAC Co-Rookie of the Year Josh Velez (Lewistown, Pa.) returns for the Wildcats after a seventh-place finish at the conference championship last fall. Thomas Runner (Elkridge, Md.) will also be a key member of the Penn College team after earning second team all-conference accolades in 2016. 

The NEAC field of men’s cross country teams expands to 13 in the 2017 season as the College of Saint Elizabeth prepares for its first season sponsoring the sport. The Eagles will be led by head coach Jennifer Buirkle.

The full 2017 men’s cross country preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. SUNY Cobleskill (6) 130
2. SUNY Poly (5) 128
3. Morrisville State College (2) 105
4. Lancaster Bible 84
5. Penn College 83
6. Penn State Abington 80
7. Penn State Berks 79
8. Wells College 77
9. Keuka College 70
10. Cazenovia College 62
11. Gallaudet University 53
12. Bryn Athyn College 42
13. College of Saint Elizabeth 21

 

The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC men’s cross country coaches, with each coach ranking all teams but their own using a staggered points system (12 points for a first-place vote, 11 points for second, etc.). The 2017 NEAC men’s cross country season will begin Friday, Sept. 1, with a full season schedule being available on the NEAC website

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s tennis. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.