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Monday, August 25, 2014

Roberts Wesleyan Tops Men's and Women's Cross Country Preseason Polls

Central Islip, N.Y. – The Roberts Wesleyan men's and women's cross country teams have been selected as favorites to capture the East Coast Conference title in 2014 as voted on by the league's coaches. Seniors, Joseph Lasher (Seaford, N.Y.) from LIU Post and Gladys Kimutai (Eldama Ravime, Kenya) from New York Institute of Technology, were named the ECC Preseason Runners of the Year for their respective gender.
Both Roberts Wesleyan squads finished as the top teams in the 2013 ECC Championship Races but were ineligible to win the championships due to their status as NCAA Provisional Members. The Redhawks have since been approved for full NCAA Division II membership and will be eligible to win the conference championship for the first time this fall.

In the men's poll, Roberts Wesleyan received five first place votes to take the top spot with 70 points. Finishing narrowly behind the Redhawks is the five-time defending conference champions, LIU Post. The Pioneers received three first place votes to finish with 67 points. Molloy earned the final first place vote and rounds out the top-three with 55 points.

On the women’s side, Roberts Wesleyan tops the poll with six first place votes and 86 points. The Redhawks return three runners who finished in the top-five at the 2013 ECC Championship and four All-Conference runners in all. Coming in second place in the poll is reigning ECC Champion, LIU Post. The Pioneers, winners of two of the past three ECC Championships, finished with 78 points in the poll. St. Thomas Aquinas comes in at No. 3 with 70 points. Daemen received two first place votes, while Molloy and NYIT each received one to round out the top-spot tallies.

Lasher, a two-time All-Conference selection, was selected as the ECC Men’s Preseason Runner of the Year. In last year’s championship meet, he came in second place with a time of 25:28.62.

Kimutai, a three-time First Team All-Conference runner, earns her third straight Women’s Preseason Runner of the Year award. In 2013, Kimutai finally crossed the finish line first at the ECC Championship meet after being the runner-up in both 2011 and 2012. Her time of 17:39.37 in last year's Championship was also an LIU Post 5K course record. Kimutai excelled away from the ECC Championship race as well, winning both the LIU Post Invitational and the NJIT XC Challenge, while also finishing ninth at the NCAA East Regional to earn Second Team All-Region honors.

2014 ECC Men’s Cross Country Preseason Poll
1. Roberts Wesleyan (5) - 70
2. LIU Post (3) - 67
3. Molloy (1) - 55
4. St. Thomas Aquinas - 51
5. Daemen - 50
6. Queens - 42
7. Dowling - 27
8. NYIT - 25
9. Bridgeport - 18

2014 ECC Women’s Cross Country Preseason Poll
1. Roberts Wesleyan (6) - 86
2. LIU Post - 78
3. St. Thomas Aquinas - 70
4. Daemen (2) - 69
5. Molloy (1) - 56
T6. Queens - 51
T6. NYIT (1) - 51
8. Dowling - 43
9. Bridgeport - 24
10. District of Columbia - 22

( ) –first place votes

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