W&L, Lynchburg Share First Place Votes
FOREST, Va. --- Washington and Lee University may have run away with last year's cross country team trophy, but the results for the ODAC Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll see things a bit tighter in 2019. The Generals maintain position atop the annual rankings with 119 points and nine first place votes. The University of Lynchburg sits second just six points back compared to an 11-point deficit for last season's second-ranked squad. The Hornets earned 113 points powered by a trio of top nods.
Roanoke College moves into third position with 90 points, while Bridgewater College is parked in fourth at 87 tallies. Shenandoah University rounds out the top-five just five points back of the Eagles at 82 markers.
Washington and Lee completed its fourth straight sweep of the ODAC cross country team titles in 2018. The Generals men improved upon a 21-point triumph in 2018 by scorching their way to a 33-point victory last year. That effort was fueled by six scoring runners in the top-11 including three in the top-7 to earn All-ODAC First Team honors.
For the second straight year, Bridgewater's Jamie Hiegel left no doubt about the individual champion as he posted a time of 25:24.9 over the 8K course at Kernstown Battlefield. He went on to pace the ODAC men at the NCAA South/Southeast Regional, placing third in 25:37.6. That helped him wrap up ODAC Men's Cross Country Runner of the Year laurels, an honor that takes into account performance throughout the season, in the conference championships, and at the regional meet.
Hiegel was joined by Lynchburg's standout duo of Tristan Lucy-Speidel and Max Sparks in Winneconne, Wis., for the NCAA Division III Championships. Hiegel completed his third straight NCAA appearance with his second-best 8K time of the season to place 59th out of 280 runners at 25:18.3. Lucy-Speidel chimed in 151st at 25:54.1, while Sparks finished 172nd in 25:58.1.
RELATED: 2018 ODAC Championship Results | 2018 NCAA Regional Results | 2018 NCAA Championship Results
There will be a changing of the guard at the top of the ODAC in 2019 when it comes to individual runners at last season's top-four competitors from the conference meet have graduated. In total, nine of last year's top-14 All-ODAC competitors return, including three from the All-ODAC First Team.
Washington and Lee boasts a pair of those men in Austin Kinne (5th | 26:21.5) and Ethan Bernstein (7th | 26:32.9). They are joined by All-ODAC Second Team qualifiers Daniel Cope (10th | 26:56.6) and Freddie Marx (11th | 27:04.1).
Virginia Wesleyan University features the remaining first teamer in Skyler Lattuca. He finished sixth (26:25.7) in the ODAC race and 32nd (26:42.4) at the regional meet on the way to sharing ODAC Rookie of the Year honors with Lynchburg's Sparks. Sparks, who placed eighth at the conference championships, is one of two second teamers back for Lynchburg. He's joined by Shawn Gmurek (12th | 27:05.8).
The remaining two all-conference returners don Roanoke colors. Peter Smith (13th | 27:07.5) and Chamberlain Zulauf (14th | 27:10.3) finished back-to-back to secure the final two all-league spots from last season's championships.
RELATED: 2018 All-ODAC Awards
The 2019 season begins with a series of events on Friday, August 30. The ODAC Preview will be hosted by eventual conference championship-host Roanoke College on Saturday, September 14. The conference championships will be Saturday, November 2. Both the preview and championship will be conducted at Green Hill Park in Salem, Va..
The NCAA postseason opens with the regional competition on Saturday, November 16. The Division III South/Southeast Regional Championship will be hosted by Rhodes College at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tenn. The NCAA Division III National Championship is slated for Saturday, November 23 at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky.
Listed below is the 2019 ODAC Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll. Be sure to check out the preseason capsules for each team as well (online version only click HERE for the online release).
For more information on ODAC men's cross country, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.