Navy picked to sweep Patriot League Cross Country titles again

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Colgate's Chris Johnson is the returning Patriot League men's cross country individual champion.
Colgate's Chris Johnson is the returning Patriot League men's cross country individual champion.

Aug. 30, 2012

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  • CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - After winning both the men and women's titles at the 2011 Patriot League Cross Country Championships, Navy has been predicted to do the same in 2012 as coaches and sports information directors put the Mids at the top of both the men and women's preseason polls on Thursday.

    The Navy men, who have won four straight Patriot League titles, were the first-place pick of 13 voters and garnered 97 points overall to take the top spot in the poll. American was next with 84 points and a pair of first-place votes, with Lehigh picking up the remaining first-place projection and taking home 71 points. Army (64), Bucknell (53), Colgate (39), Lafayette (23) and Holy Cross (17) completed the rankings on the men's side.

    The Navy women had just two fewer points than the men in taking first place in the preseason poll. Navy, which has won three titles in the past five seasons, took home 11 first-place votes and 95 points to claim the top spot. Bucknell, which narrowly fell to the Mids at last year's championship and has placed first or second for seven consecutive years, came next with 82 points and three first-place votes. Army picked up the remaining two first-place votes and accrued 71 points overall, and was followed in order by Colgate (58), Lehigh (57) and American (39), with Holy Cross and Lafayette tying for seventh with 23 points.

    The 2012 Patriot League Cross Country Championships will be contested at Colgate University's Harry H. Lang Course on Oct. 27 beginning at 11 a.m.

    While the Mids lead the preseason poll, the favorite for the individual title is likely Colgate senior Chris Johnson. He won the 2011 individual title at Lehigh with a time of 24:53.9, and went on to compete in the NCAA Championship where he finished 115th. Johnson will get to run on his home course as he tries to become the second straight repeat winner after Navy's Andrew Hanko claimed the individual crown in 2009 and 2010.

    Johnson and American's Mark Allen are the only two returnees who earned first-team All-Patriot League honors last year, with Allen finishing seventh in the championship race. American's John Pope (9th), Navy's Kyle Satterwhite (10th) and Robbie Patterson (12th), Bucknell's John Dugan (13th) and Army's Dan Jester (14th) are all back after earning second-team All-Patriot League honors. Dugan was also the 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Year.

    On the women's side, nearly all of the top finishers from the 2011 race have departed to create a wide-open field for the fall. The only returning first-team All-Patriot League finisher is Bucknell senior Caroline Tolli (5th), while Navy's Brigid Byrne (9th) and Annie-Norah Beveridge (10th), the 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, are back after earning second-team All-League distinction.

    Four men and three women's teams made the preseason regional rankings from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), which were released on Monday. On the men's side, Navy was fifth, Bucknell 10th and Lehigh 11th in the Mid-Atlantic Region, while Army came in 15th in the Northeast.

    The women's regional rankings reflected the closeness of the Patriot League preseason poll, with Navy seventh and Bucknell right behind in eighth in the Mid-Atlantic Region. American placed 12th in the region.

    The Patriot League cross country schedule opens up on Friday, with every team competing on the first weekend. On Saturday, American, Holy Cross, Bucknell and Navy will join host Colgate at the Harry Lang Invitational in a preview of October's Patriot League Championship.

    Patriot League Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll
    1. Navy (13 first-place votes) 97
    2. American (2) 84
    3. Lehigh (1) 71
    4. Army 64
    5. Bucknell 53
    6. Colgate 39
    7. Lafayette 23
    8. Holy Cross 17

    Patriot League Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll
    1. Navy (11 first-place votes) 95
    2. Bucknell (3) 82
    3. Army (2) 71
    4. Colgate 58
    5. Lehigh 57
    6. American 39
    7. Lafayette 23
    Holy Cross 23