The 2014 CAC Men's Cross Country Championship featured the closest top-three team finish in conference history. Salisbury snapped York's three-year reign atop the conference, totaling 42 points to defeat second-place Christopher Newport (50) by eight, followed by York in third with 55 points.
Coaches around the CAC anticipate another tight race for top honors this fall, as Christopher Newport, Salisbury and York each received multiple first-place votes in the preseason poll. CNU was selected as the preseason favorite with five first-place votes and 77 points, while Salisbury tallied three first-place nods and 71 points and York secured two first-place votes and 65 points. Rounding out the top five were Mary Washington (58 points) and St. Mary's (48).
Marymount took sixth in the preseason rankings with 38 points, followed by Frostburg State (33 points), Southern Virginia (27 points), Penn State Harrisburg (17 points) and Wesley (14 points).
Eleven of 16 All-CAC performers from last fall return in 2015, as the competition once again projects to be stiff among the top runners in the conference.
The 2015 campaign marks a new era for Mary Washington. Long-time head coach Stan Soper retired at the conclusion on the 2014-15 school year, ending his 31-year run at the helm of the UMW program. Kunle Lawson takes over as head coach this season, the only coaching change in the CAC this year.
St. Mary's will serve as the host of the CAC Championships for the first time this fall. The championship meet is slated for Saturday, Oct. 31.
Here's a quick glance at each team heading into the 2015 season, which begins for several teams today.
Following a pair of second-place showings at the past two CAC Championship competitions, CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT is looking for even greater success in 2014. Last year, along with placing second in the CAC, the Captains finished fourth in the NCAA South / Southeast Regional. Led by head coachMatthew Barreau, CNU welcomes back a solid group from last year's squad, including All-Region performers Billy Rabil, JJ LaPointe, and Grayson Reid.
FROSTBURG STATE, under the direction of sixth-year head coach Dale Luy, returns three talented runners to the roster in 2015. Sophomore Brad Bakerwill lead the charge after pacing the Bobcats in four of the team's final five meets, including a season-best fifth-place showing (27:51.1) at the Pitt-Greensburg Invitational. Senior Greg Horning and junior Stanton Higham also return for the Bobcats after posting season-best times at the CAC Championships.
MARYMOUNT showed promise in the 2014 CAC Championships as all but two runners improved their best times. Sophomore Tony Morales will return after finishing in 11th in the conference championships and earning Marymount's first All-CAC accolade. The Saints will also return sophomore Joel Juarez and senior Carlos Elizondo after clocking 26:17 and 26:38, respectively, look to make an impact this season.
MARY WASHINGTON will look for a strong season in 2015 under new head coach Kunle Lawson. The Eagles welcome back top performers Nick Eghtessad, Tom Hudson, Chris Markham, as well as All-CAC finisher Ben Sorenson. Returnees Chris Sandoval, Kevin Speray, Hunter Renard, Kevin McCarthy, Kevin Jones, Tate Houff, Ian Granger, Chris Anderson, and John Bozek give the Eagles a veteran presence with strong depth.
After finishing at the bottom in their first two seasons in the CAC, PENN STATE HARRISBURG will look to senior Edgar Makimoto for experience and guidance to push forward. Additionally, freshman Derek Allabaugh along with other young sets of legs to the team hope to carry the Lions in a higher direction this Fall.
ST. MARY'S will serve as the host site of the CAC Championships in 2015 for the first time since the Seahawks went varsity six years ago. This season's preparation will include the 2nd Annual Seahawk Invitational as well as a new meet, Osprey Open, hosted by Stockton University. Aidan Hennessey, Eric Ortiz, and T.J. McPhaul will be the runners to watch for St. Mary's while six newcomers will look to break into the scoring five.
SALISBURY will look to a strong core of young veterans to make an impact in 2015 as the Sea Gulls look to defend their CAC title. Senior George Martinez and Justin DeJausserand are the only seniors on the squad leading the way. Martinez was a first-team All-CAC performer last year, placing third in the event – his top finish of the year. Juniors Connor Hesselbirg and Matt Hoerr are the only other upper classmen to run in every regular-season meet and the CAC championships last year. Sophomores Tom McIntyre, Ben Meister, and Malcom Milton will take the next step in their careers, following strong rookie performances.
SOUTHERN VIRGINIA will look like a whole new team this year with only two returners, John Leake and Jefferson Chandler. The young Knights will compete with many new faces this season and work to recover from the loss of All-CAC second team member Michael Myers, who is serving a church mission.
WESLEY will look to build upon a solid foundation heading into the 2015 campaign. The team boasted just one upperclassman last season, along with two sophomores and seven freshmen. With a year of experience under their belts, the Wolverines will seek to climb the CAC standings in 2015 and improve upon last year's finish.
YORK enters the 2015 season looking to climb back to the top of the Capital Athletic Conference. The Spartans will use a strong pack mentality to put the Spartans in contention in the conference. A strong contingent of runners will compete for the Spartans led by sophomore Grant Dell, junior Matt Hayes, sophomore Ryan Aug, and sophomore Andy MacGibbon. Dell was a first team All-CAC finisher last year while Hayes, Aug and MacGibbon were second-team finishers for the Green and White in 2014. York will face a reworked schedule this year as four new events dot the upcoming schedule including trips to St. Mary's, Lock Haven, Rowan, and Lebanon Valley.
|1. Christopher Newport (5 first-place votes)||77 points|
|2. Salisbury (3 first-place votes)||71 points|
|3. York (2 first-place votes)||65 points|
|4. Mary Washington||58 points|
|5. St. Mary's||48 points|
|6. Marymount||38 points|
|7. Frostburg State||33 points|
|8. Southern Virginia||27 points|
|9. Penn State Harrisburg||17 points|
|10. Wesley||14 points|