BOSTON-- The University of New Hampshire men's cross country team is favored to win its fourth conference title of the 21st century as the Wildcats were voted No. 1 in the America East Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released Wednesday afternoon.
New Hampshire received four first-place votes (coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team) and a total of 60 points to edge out defending champion Maine (52 points; three first-place votes) and Albany (50; 1). The rest of the poll is: Stony Brook (44), UMBC (41), Boston University (34), Binghamton (21), Vermont (17) and Hartford (8).
UNH, which finished second at last year's conference championship following consecutive titles from the 2001-03 seasons, is led by senior captains Andrew Lawson (Holland Patent, N.Y.) and Andy Van Hoogenstyn (Scarborough, Maine). Lawson is the team's top returning performer from the 2004 America East Championships, at which he placed 16th. Peter Hewins (Richboro, Pa.) also scored for the 'Cats at last year's conference race in 20th place.
Senior Matthew Russell (Ogdensburg, N.Y.), sophomore Bobby Edgerton (Cornish, N.H.) and freshman Nicholas Decrescenzo (New Milford, Conn.) are expected to be consistent point scorers for UNH this season.
The 2005 America East Championship is Oct. 29 on the campus of Binghamton University.