Thomasville, NC- Both the Lees-McRae’s Women and Men’s Cross Country teams were voted the upcoming favorites in the CVAC cross country preseason poll as voted upon by head coaches within the conference.  On the women’s side the Bobcats are looking to win their seventh CVAC Championship in eight years.  In order for that to take place Head Coach Craig McPhail believes it will have to come from a close knit team. Sophomores Leslie Thurman and Casey Willis will lead the way, as newcomers Demarea Colson and Kathleen Wilkerson will join them to give the Bobcats a quality top four. “Injuries have got us down for now, but we should be ready to go later in the season and this will be helpful for us to continue the success we have had in the past.  Our depth is going to be an issue, the development of some of the other women is going to be crucial to our success, but we have the time and resources to make it happen,” said McPhail.

                Anderson College places second in the CVAC women's cross country preseason poll. 

Anderson College head cross country coach Aaron Schaffner hopes his incoming group of runners will make a major impact on the program.  “We’re extremely excited about the upcoming year,” said Schaffner, who is entering his second season as head coach. “We’ve got some runners coming in who will contribute immediately.”  Schaffner credits sophomore Jennifer Hitt who won the 2004 CVAC title to become the CVAC Runner & Freshmen of the Year Award winner, finished fourth in the regional meet, and participated in the NCAA Division II national meet. “Hitt making it to the nationals gave us some more exposure.”  She will be joined by one of the most talented runners in the history of cross country in South Carolina. Freshmen Diana Williard tied a national record by winning six state titles in high school.  “Jennifer and Diana will be battling up front,” Schaffner said. “One weekend one will win, the next weekend the other will win. They should be great training partners and extremely competitive on race day.”

                A solid mixture of youth and experience will lead the Queens cross country team in their quest for a CVAC Championship.  First year coach, Michael Bell, is excited about moving the Queens program forward this season. With four new freshmen added for the 2005 season, the Royals are ready for the challenge.  Katie Carman and Sandra Carter will be able to challenge the top runners in the CVAC Conference.  The Royals also return four runners that finished in the Top 25 from last year’s CVAC Championship. Sarah Terry (10th), Whitney Dennis (15th), Natasha Hansson (21st), and Amber McClain (23rd) helped Queens University of Charlotte to a 2nd Place finish.



                On the men’s side, Lees-McRae also stakes claim to the top of the poll as voted on by the conference’s head coaches.  The Bobcats are going to be young in 2005 as they try to reload with a quality recruiting class and the help of experienced returnees. Two-time All-CVAC runner and junior Lewis Martin will lead the Bobcats with senior Jeffrey Swicegood and sophomore Josh Blanc helping guide the group of freshmen.  Daniel Stephens, Matthew Barrett, Sebron Jessup, Joey Faitella, Brett Collins and Jake Allen are newcomers to the Bobcats squad and will be looked to give them quality depth.  “Our youthfulness is going to be great, because we can learn quickly on what we will need to do to get better each day,” said Head Coach Craig McPhail. “Martin is going to be special this year after a great summer of training.”

                The St. Andrews Presbyterian College men’s cross country team looks to improve on its best season to date after finishing second for the 2004 CVAC Championships. The Knights had a historic season last year winning two races including the University of South Carolina Invitational and the UNC Pembroke Invitational. SAPC also finished second in four other races including the CVAC Championship. Head Coach Gary Aycock added four freshmen to balance out a lineup that consists of four talented upperclassmen. The Knights return the 2004 CVAC Freshman of the Year, First Team All-Conference, and NCAA Southeast All-Region runner Chris Miller. Junior Tim Bourke, a two-time Second Team All-Conference and 2003 All-Region runner, will contend for the top spot on the Knights lineup. Sophomore Adam Vick will post solid times all season and Devon Gillis will provide leadership and experience to the team as the only senior. “We have a great returning core group and have added three freshmen that will have an immediate impact on the scoring five,” said Aycock. “Although this is a very young team I expect them to be contenders in the CVAC and possible national qualifiers.”

                Pfeiffer University Men's Cross Country team is returning all of its runner's from last year, plus five very talented freshmen to take the third spot in the CVAC preseason coaches’ poll.  New Head Coach Travis Anderson believes that the team has improved a great deal during the off-season.  They are also excited about the return of red-shirt senior Josh Pinyan who must take over leadership responsibilities for the team.  Pfeiffer's success is also riding on sophomores Neil Waldron and Brandon Whittaker's shoulders; they had great performances last year as freshmen and will be looked upon to repeat those efforts again this year.  Coach Anderson states, “I'm thankful for the 3rd place ranking, and look forward to starting the 2005 season.”


CVAC Women's Cross Country Pre-Season Poll

(# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)

1.  Lees-McRae        (11)                         121

T-2.  Anderson                                        103

T-2  Queens             (1)                           103

T-5  Barton                                             78

T-5  Pfeiffer                                            78

6.  Converse                                             62

7.  St. Andrews                                         59

8.  Belmont Abbey                                   52

9.  Coker                                                  51