SUNY Cobleskill Claims No. 1 Spot in 2018 NEAC Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll

SUNY Cobleskill Claims No. 1 Spot in 2018 NEAC Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – Despite seeing an eight-year reign come to an end last fall, SUNY Cobleskill has been picked as the early-season favorite in the 2018 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) women’s cross country preseason poll.  

SUNY Cobleskill received four first-place votes and 112 total points to take the No. 1 spot in the coaches’ poll. The Fighting Tigers and head coach Mitch Tomaszkiewicz will lean on sophomore Katie Hotaling (Albany, N.Y.) to provide leadership after earning NEAC All-Conference Third Team honors in 2017. SUNY Cobleskill will need to rely on a solid recruiting class that includes rookies Natalie Honken (Endicott, N.Y.), Gabriella Decker (Galway, N.Y.) and Ayla Erwin (Jamesville, N.Y.) to overcome the loss of four All-NEAC runners in the new season.

Defending NEAC Champion Penn State Berks enters the 2018 season at No. 2 after earning five first-place votes and 101 points in the preseason rankings. The Nittany Lions will be rebuilding after losing six runners that helped guide the team to its first conference crown. Senior Mikaela Smith (Sinking Spring, Pa.) is one of the team’s top returners after receiving NEAC All-Conference Second Team honors at the 2017 championship event while sophomore Alyssa Piffer (Reading, Pa.) is also expected to be at the front of the pack this fall.

SUNY Poly totaled 91 points and received two first-place votes in this year’s vote. Head Coach Bill Tylutki will turn to the All-NEAC duo of seniors Jalize Mejia-Perez (Bronx, N.Y.) and Kassidy Eng (Staten Island, N.Y.) to fill the void left by loss of two of the team’s top runners after the pair finished 13th and 19th, respectively, at the 2017 championship. Newcomers Lauren Phetteplace (Cortland, N.Y.) and Molly Burdick (Johnson City, N.Y.) are expected to give the Wildcats the ability to remain competitive in the upcoming season.

Cazenovia College picked up the final first-place vote to place fourth with 87 points. The Wildcats, who have finished second at the last four conference championships, will see the return of All-NEAC First Team runner Maddy Godfrey (Fort Edward, N.Y.) after a standout rookie season where she finished fourth at the league championship race. Godfrey will be joined by NEAC All-Conference Second Team selections Aliana Hart (Fort Covington, N.Y.) and Brooke Newton (Parishville, N.Y.) in a rebuilding year for head coach Bill Houser’s team.

This year’s top five is completed by Morrisville State after the Mustangs tallied 77 points in the poll. Senior Raylene Wade (Red Creek, N.Y.) leads the returners after finishing 12th and receiving All-NEAC Second Team honors at the 2017 NEAC Championship. In addition to the return of sophomores Maura Hager (Binghamton, N.Y.) and Emily Cheney (Redfield, N.Y.), head coach Derek Powers will have some experienced newcomers joining the team this fall.

The full 2018 NEAC women's cross country preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. SUNY Cobleskill (4) 112
2. Penn State Berks (5) 101
3. SUNY Poly (2) 91
4. Cazenovia College (1) 87
5. Morrisville State 77
6. Lancaster Bible 69
7. Keuka College 62
8. Penn College 55
9. Penn State Abington 47
10. Wells College 43
11. Gallaudet University 34
12. College of Saint Elizabeth 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC women’s cross country coaches, with each coach ranking all teams but their own using a staggered points system (11 points for a first-place vote, 10 points for second, etc.). The 2018 NEAC women’s cross country season will be in full swing on Friday, Aug. 31, with the season schedule being available on the NEAC website

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has 12 NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, Morrisville State, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Wells College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (W Lacrosse), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse), Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf), and Wilson College (M Volleyball). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sport of men’s tennis and with the Colonial State Athletic Conference in the sport of Field Hockey. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.