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 with 63 points in the America East Preseason Coaches Poll that was released on Thursday morning.

The Wildcats received seven out of eight possible first-place votes (coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team). The Wildcats earn the top spot after a second-place effort at last season's America East Championship. New Hampshire returns six runners from the top-30 finishers at the conference championship, including graduate student Matthew Russell (Ogdensburg, N.Y.) who finished fifth. Classmate Robert Edgerton (Cornish, N.H.) also earned a top-10 finish and joined Russell as a member of the 2005 America East All-Conference Team. UNH co-captains Rodolfo Crispin (Ridgewood, N.J.) and junior Jordan Horwitz (Evanston, Ill.) provide a wealth of veteran leadership and experience to a team that lists five freshmen and three sophomores. Other notable returnees include senior Andrew Lawson (Holland/Patent, N.Y.) and Andrew Van Hoogenstyn (Scarborough, Maine).

According to the poll, the University of Maine should be the Wildcats stiffest competition as they garnered one first-place vote with 53 points for second place in the voting. UMBC (48 points) also tallied one first-place vote and ranked third overall, followed closely by Boston University (41), University at Albany (36), Stony Brook University (34), University of Vermont (22), Binghamton University (19), and University of Hartford (8) rounded out the field of nine.

The 2006 America East Cross Country Championships will be held on October 28 on the campus of the University of Maine in Orono, Maine. For more information on America East cross-country, including complete 2005 championship results, log on to www.AmericaEast.Com.

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