Since 1991, the inception of the Capital Athletic Conference, the cross country season and championship race has traditionally featured Mary Washington and Salisbury at the top of the pack.
UMW has won 11 of the 20 men’s cross country titles, including the most recent in 2009. Defending CAC champ Salisbury has won the other nine men’s crowns, including eight of the last 11.
On the women’s side, the Eagles won 12 of 13 championship races between 1991 and 2003 and added another trophy-winning performance in 2007. Salisbury, meanwhile, has won the other seven championships, including three-straight from 2008-2010 and six in the last seven seasons.
Defending CAC champion Salisbury is ranked eighth in the preseason men's Mideast poll, but unranked in the preseason women's Mideast Region poll.
Mary Washington, which finished second behind the Gulls in both the men's and women's championship meet in 2010, are listed sixth in the men's South/Southeast regional poll and ninth in the women's South/Southeast regional ranking.
So it’s not a stretch to suggest the teams to beat in the title chases on Oct. 29 at York’s John Rudy County Park will be Salisbury, the defending men’s and women’s champion, and Mary Washington.
Several other teams are building contending programs, including Frostburg State and 2011 championship host York. Both teams are under coaches entering their second season as full-time cross country coaches at their respective institutions – Dale Luy at FSU and Erick Camodeca at YCP.
Joining Salisbury’s Jim Jones and UMW’s Stan Soper among the veteran coaches in the conference is Hood’s Brent Ayer and Wesley’s Steve Pickering – both of whom have several emerging stars in their stable of runners.
The programs at Marymount, St. Mary’s and Stevenson are new in the past two years and working to build stronger programs. Stevenson also added a track & field program last season, which may help the development of each sport.
The 2011-12 season opens Thursday (9/1) when Marymount competes in a five-team meet at Shenandoah. Hood and Stevenson will follow Friday in the Baltimore Metro meet, which has changed sites and will now be hosted by McDaniel in Westminster, Md.
Here is a quick glance at each men’s and women’s cross country team heading into the 2011 campaign:
Second year head coach Dale Luy returns a ton of talent and plenty of runners that should push Frostburg State towards a CAC Title in 2011. Senior Gavin Caupp, who had his 2010 season cut short due to injury, has returned to full strength this fall and should compete with the top runners in the league. Fellow senior Jesse Henderson and sophomore Pat Mead had solid seasons last year and helped carry the team in Caupp’s absence. Mead was the team’s top finisher (21st) at the CAC Championship meet.
A pair of senior runners in Anne Patron and Kim Adams highlight the 2011 version of the Frostburg State women’s cross country team. Patron earned First Team All-CAC honors last fall after finishing third in the league championship meet. A two-time all-conference runner, Patron should battle for the top spot in the CAC. Adams will joined by sophomore Jen Bower as the other top returners from last fall.
Hood sophomore Dan Jacobs enjoyed a sensational
collegiate debut last season, setting the program standard in the
8K at CACs and earning the Blazers' first men's cross country
all-conference award. Jacobs and junior teammate Brett
Shelley set the pace for the Blazers in virtually every
race and look to set the bar even higher this season.
Half of Hood's women's cross country roster will be competing on the collegiate level for the first time this fall, but each newcomer brings a strong scholastic background to the program. The spark provided by this sizeable collection of newcomers will complement returner Alyssa Peterson quite well. Peterson, a sophomore, was the Blazers' top finisher in eight races last fall and broke the program's first-year 6K record at CACs.
Building on a record setting season from a year ago, the Marymount looks to continue its success on the course in 2011 … On the men’s side, the Saints return four runners, three of them upperclassmen, including NCAA South/Southeast Regional participant Mike Dalrymple ... Also back for MU are juniors Udit Bhatnagar and Mark Flores along with sophomore Kevin Farmer.
On the women’s side, a young squad will be led by a lone senior in Rachael Raske while returning sophomores Dana Mannarino, Megan McMinn and Summer Penrose will continue to make strides from their freshman year.
With just one senior lost to graduation and the entire top group
returning in 2011, hopes remain high for another successful season
for MARY WASHINGTON. Returning for their final
season will be Daniel Ache, Kyle
Anderson, David Gayek, Stephen
Harrison, Chris Marino, and Blake
Turner. Juniors Zach Fichter,
Sean Healy, Scott Plunkett, and
Matt Shaughnessy are also expected to return.
Numerous sophomores and freshman will be counted on to provide the
team with crucial depth, and several individuals should also be
pushing for spots in the top group by season's end.
After the graduation of three strong seniors from last year’s squad, the Mary Washington team will have a new look. Hopes remain high for another successful season, as expected to return for their final season will be Mara Cate, Dawn Rainbolt, and Michaela Sands. Numerous sophomores and freshman will be counted on to provide the team with crucial depth, with several individuals also pushing for spots in the top group.
The defending CAC Champion Sea Gulls return four letterwinners from a team that captured the program’s ninth men’s conference title in 2010. Salisbury placed eight runners on the All-CAC teams, including four on the first team. Ryan Jackson, last year’s CAC Rookie of the Year and a first-team All-CAC selection, is back to lead the charge for eight-time CAC Coach of the Year Jim Jones’ squad. Also returning are first-team member senior Trent Seawell, along with second-team selections senior John Fitzgerald, senior David Toller and sophomore Matthew Hallenback.
The Sea Gulls won their third consecutive CAC Championship in 2010, and welcome back four of seven All-CAC performers from a year ago. Two-time defending CAC Coach of the Year Jim Jones, who won his fourth overall individual honor last season, will look to first-team selection senior Becca Stinner to pace the Gulls. Also returning are second-team runners senior Emily Powell, junior Anna Steinman and sophomore Emma Bahneman.
2011 marks a new chapter in the young history of the Seahawk cross country program as Lynn O'Dell becomes the second head coach to take the helm. This will be O'Dell's collegiate coaching debut as she spent seven years coaching high school cross country and track. The Seahawks will look to Nick Pasko and Dan Swain to provide veteran leadership as both have been major contributors to the team's success the past two seasons. Pasko and Swain will receive support from fellow classmates, Henry Giovannetti and Drew Gordon, as well as sophomore Matt Bennett following a solid rookie campaign.
O'Dell also becomes the second head coach for the Seahawks’ women’s program. The trio of senior Kathleen Tatem, junior Katie Phipps and sophomore Keighly Bradbrook are expected to help the Seahawks achieve their potential. Junior Margaret Lillie will provide St. Mary's with a driven determination to push her teammates.
Stevenson returns three runners from last year's team that
finished seventh at the CAC Cross Country Championships. In
addition to senior Josh Michael, the Mustangs must also replace
sophomore Avior Zynda who led Stevenson with a 22nd-place finish at
last year's conference championship and was an All-CAC Second Team
selection in 2009. Leading the returners is junior Patrick
Cristaldi who has competed in each of the team's 18 races
the last two seasons, crossing the line as the Mustangs' top
finisher in 10 of those races, including six a year ago.
Stevenson returns four runners from last year's team that finished eighth at the 2010 CAC Cross Country Championships, including its top three. Sophomore Elizabeth Carino leads the way after crossing the line as the team's top finisher in each of the Mustangs' nine races last season. Also returning is sophomore Mary Kate Lutz who finished second behind Carino in seven of those nine meets as well as junior Meghan Najewicz who was second in the other two. Najewicz was also one of the team's top runners in 2009, competing in six races while finishing 28th at the conference championship.
Wesley will look to improve upon last year's ninth place finish
at the CAC Championships, adding three talented newcomers to a cast
of six returners. Michael Liegey led the
Wolverines at every meet a year ago, but will face a serious
challenge for the top spot from freshman Alex Dello
Buono. Mike Mango also returns for
Wesley will look to improve upon last year's ninth place finish at the CAC Championships. Top runner Tristin Burris returns for her junior year, but will once again split time between cross country and field hockey. Kristine Bailey returns from injury and should be the Wolverines' top finisher when Burris is unavailable.
York begins its 2011 men’s cross country slate looking
like a team on the upswing. Sophomore Tim Hartung
put together a fantastic rookie campaign, taking fifth overall at
the CAC Championships, and that taste of success should help drive
him throughout the season. Junior Steven Childres
proved a solid leader for the Green and White a season ago while
also providing outstanding finishes, including an eighth place
finish at the CAC Championships. York will look for youngsters
Craig Eppler and Matt Smith to
step up and continue to add depth to the squad.
The Spartans’ women’s team brings promise and optimism into the 2011 campaign. A huge part of that optimistic view is the return of 2010 CAC Champion Mandy Parshall. Parshall put together an outstanding season as she captured York’s first individual cross country title in either men’s or women’s cross. Joining Parshall toward the lead pack are a pair of veteran runners as senior Corie Thompson and junior Tuesday Wilson will each strive for front of the group performances in 2011. Sophomore Nicole Danielewicz proved a quality young runner a season ago and will look to build off that performance in her second year.