GREENVILLE, Pa. (pacathletics.org)–For the first time since 2016 Saint Vincent College has been picked as the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) men’s cross country favorite, according to the league’s annual preseason coaches’ poll. The results of the poll, voted on by the conference’s nine head coaches, were revealed along with the PAC’s Runners to Watch List Tuesday.
Saint Vincent, led by 17th-year head coach Dr. Andrew Herr, earned five first-place votes and 69 total points. The Bearcats won seven-straight PAC titles (2010-16) before posting a third-place finish in 2017 and finishing as the runner-up in 2018. Herr is a six-time PAC Coach of the Year (2010-14, 2016) honoree.
Last year’s champion, Washington & Jefferson College, finished second in this year’s poll after collecting three first-place votes and 65 points. The Presidents totaled 33 points after placing all five of its scoring runners in the top 12 of the nine-team, 95-runner field at the 2018 PAC Championships. Second-year head coach Derek Workman was voted the league’s Coach of the Year after leading W&J to its first-ever team title.
Grove City College finished third in this year’s poll, claiming the final first-place vote and 56 points. Jessica Smith, who recently completed her second season as the Wolverines’ head track and field coach, was named the school’s director of cross country and track and field on July 15. She replaces Sean Severson in overseeing the cross country programs, who guided the men’s program to seven conference titles over his 15 years as the head coach. Severson is a four-time PAC Coach of the Year (2004, 2007, 2009, 2017) honoree.
Grove City most recently claimed the PAC team title in 2017. The Wolverines own a league-best 21 PAC Championships.
Geneva College was fourth in this year’s poll with 53 points and was followed by Waynesburg University in fifth (46), Bethany College in sixth (35), Chatham University in seventh (31), Westminster College in eighth (24) and Thiel College in ninth (17).
Headlining this year’s runners to watch list are W&J sophomore Damon Gall (Canonsburg, Pa. | Canon-McMillan) and Saint Vincent senior Will Greene (Westminster, Md. | Delone Catholic). Gall and Greene finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 95-runner field at last year’s PAC Championships.
The 2019 runners to watch list includes two All-PAC First Team, four All-PAC Second Team and three All-PAC Honorable Mention selections from last season. The top seven finishers in both the men’s and women’s races receive All-PAC First Team recognition, while runners finishing eighth through 14th earn All-PAC Second Team honors. Runners finishing 15th through 21st receive All-PAC Honorable Mention recognition.
The runners to watch list also includes seven members of the Fall 2018 PAC Academic Honor Roll, which recognizes student-athletes on varsity sports teams who have earned a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.6 or higher during their semester of competition.
This year’s PAC Cross Country Championships, scheduled for Saturday, November 2, will be hosted by Westminster in New Wilmington, Pa. The men’s 8,000-meter race is scheduled to get underway at 11 a.m. with the women’s 6,000-meter race to follow at 12 p.m.
Muhlenberg College will host this year’s NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championships on Saturday, November 16 at Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus Cross Country Course in Bethlehem, Pa. The men’s race is scheduled for 11 a.m. with the women’s race to follow at 12 p.m.
The Division III Championships are scheduled for Saturday, November 23 and will be hosted by Spalding University and the Louisville Sports Commission at EP Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. The men’s race will begin at 10 a.m. with the women’s race to follow at 11 a.m.