BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's cross country team was picked to finish fourth while the women's team was tabbed seventh in the preseason Mid-American Conference polls, as announced by the conference on Wednesday morning. Both teams received the same preseason rankings a season ago.
On the men's side, Eastern Michigan was picked to win the conference once again as they earned seven first place votes, followed by Miami (OH) with one first place vote and Bowling Green who placed third, just ahead of Buffalo.
On the women's side, Eastern Michigan was selected first with nine first place votes while Northern Illinois and Bowling Green closed out the top three. Toledo, Central Michigan and Miami (OH) were picked fourth, fifth, sixth with UB coming in seventh.
The Buffalo men are coming off of a strong 2016 campaign that saw them take third place at the MAC Championships and eighth place at the Northeast Regionals. Jack Jibb returns for his junior campaign as the highest returning runner for the Bulls after notching a 17th place finish at the 2016 MAC Championships. Justin Van Epps also returns for his junior campaign after taking home 25th place at the MAC's a season ago.
The Bulls women's team had a strong finish to the 2016 season as they took home a sixth place finish at the MAC Championships and a 12th place finish at the Northeast Regionals. Sophomore Stephanie Ward returns after one of the best freshman campaigns in UB history as she was able to garner Second Team All-MAC honors and became the first Buffalo runner to be named MAC Freshman of the Year. Ward took home 13th place at the MAC Championships, highest finish by a Buffalo freshman in program history, while also taking home a team-best 21st place at the Northeast Regionals. She was also named to the All-Region team, first freshman to do so for UB. The women's side will also return four other runners, Morgan Mahoney, Meagan Hopkins, Rachel Barich and Lauren Reyda, who each competed in the Northeast Regionals a season ago.
The Bulls 2017 campaign will begin this weekend as they head to the Harry Lang Invite at Colgate University on Saturday. Races on Saturday will begin at 11:30 am.
2017 Women's MAC Cross Country Preseason Poll
1. Eastern Michigan (9)
2. Northern Illinois
3. Bowling Green
4. Toledo (1)
5. Central Michigan
8. Western Michigan
10. Ball State
12. Kent State
(First Place votes) Two coaches abstained
2017 Men's MAC Cross Country Preseason Poll
1. Eastern Michigan (7)
2. Miami (1)
3. Bowling Green
7. Central Michigan
9. Kent State
(First Place votes) One coach abstained