HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University women's cross country team was tabbed as the favorite to win its fifth straight Northeast Conference Championship in the Preseason Coaches Poll. The Bobcats received 10 of 12 possible first-place votes as they were picked first for the fifth consecutive season. Quinnipiac will serve as the host school for the 2009 NEC Championships on Oct. 31.
The Bobcats' Morgan Roche (Clifton Park, N.Y.) returns for her sophomore season after finishing fourth at last season's conference championship meet at Holmdel Park, N.J. That finish earned Roche the NEC Freshman of the Year Award, becoming the third runner in the program's history to receive the honor. Roche also was named the NEC Rookie of the Week a league-best three times during the 2008 season.
Sophomore Katie Beam (South Windsor, Conn.) is also back for her sophomore season after earning All-NEC honors during her freshman campaign with a fifth-place finish at the NEC Championships. Senior Lindsey Pierret (Morristown, N.J.) rounds out the trio of All-NEC runners returning for the 2009 season after posting a seventh-place finish in 2008.
"I'm very excited for this season," said coach Carolyn Martin. "We have a very young and talented team and I am looking forward to what we can do this season with this group."
Sacred Heart earned one first-place vote and was tabbed second, while Monmouth, Saint Francis (Pa.) and Central Connecticut State round out the top five selections. Robert Morris and Wagner tied for sixth with Mount St. Mary's, Bryant, Long Island, St. Francis (N.Y.) and Fairleigh Dickinson taking the final five spots in the poll.
The Bobcats begin the season at the Stony Brook Invitational on Sept. 5. The meet is set for a 10:30 a.m. start time.
1. Quinnipiac (10)
2. Sacred Heart (1)
4. Saint Francis (PA)
5. Central Connecticut State
6. Robert Morris
8. Mount St. Mary's (1)
10. Long Island
11. St. Francis (NY)
12. Fairleigh Dickinson
First place votes in parentheses