MACON, Ga. (Aug. 19, 2010) - With the official start of the cross country season set to begin in two and a half weeks, the Atlantic Sun Conference released its preseason coaches poll Wednesday afternoon and the Buccaneer men were tabbed third, while the women were tenth.
ETSU received two first-place votes, with Kennesaw State, USC Upstate and Belmont being honored with the other selections. The Owls took home seven first-place nods (112 total votes) and the Spartans - who will host the 2010 A-Sun Championships - finished third with 100 votes. Overall, the Bucs tallied 96 votes.
The Bucs, who finished second behind Kennesaw State at last year's championship, return six letterwinners from that squad - including two-time all-conference selection Ben Ronoh (Sotik, Kenya). In addition to the six returners, head coach David Walker and his staff did a solid job on the recruiting trail, as ETSU brings in five newcomers in 2010. Despite having a lot of depth on the roster, the Bucs still need to replace two-time conference champion and seven-time A-Sun Runner of the Week recipient Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya). Rotich, the reigning cross country conference champion, graduated in May.
On the women's side, Jacksonville was selected the top team as the 2009 A-Sun champions received nine first-place votes en route to earning 116 total points. North Florida was pegged second (98 votes) and USC Upstate and Kennesaw State both received 89 votes to tie for third.
The Lady Bucs, who will be led by senior Caitlyn Epps (Cookeville, Tenn.) in 2010, was picked above Stetson for 10th.
The Buccaneer cross country team opens their season at the Covered Bridge Open on Friday, Sept. 3 in Boone, N.C.