(PRINCETON, W.VA)---Traditional WVIAC men's cross country power West Virginia Wesleyan is the top choice by league coaches to claim top honors in 2006. Head coach Jesse Skiles' Bobcats earned five of eleven first place votes to lead the balloting.
Concord grabbed three first place votes to finish second in the voting. Defending champion Alderson-Broaddus placed third in the poll with a pair of first place mentions. Charleston and Davis & Elkins round out the top five. Sixth place Wheeling Jesuit was the recipient of the other first place vote. Fairmont State, Glenville State, Ohio Valley, West Liberty State, and Bluefield State complete the order of finish in the pre-season coaches' poll.
Wesleyan is led by sophomore Eric Cooper (Culloden, WV), who placed third in last year's conference meet as a rookie. Jarren Morlan (Soph., Gassaway, WV) was a ninth place finisher in last year's meet. The Bobcats also add Mars Hill transfer Josh Wagner (Soph., Clarksburg, WV), a second team All-South Atlantic Conference performer.
Concord should be loaded as head coach Mike Cox brings back three 2004 All-WVIAC performers that redshirted last season. Chris Snell, Chris Herron, and Adam Coon led the Mountain Lions to a league championship in '04. Snell, who finished 51st in the national meet two seasons ago, ranks among the top contenders for the individual championship.
Alderson-Broaddus dominated last season's meet with six of the top ten runners. The Battlers welcome back the conference's two top finishers from 2005 in Scott Gemberling (Kingwood, WV, Jr.) and Ryan Skotnicki (Morgantown, WV, Soph.).
Charleston hopes to contend as the Golden Eagles return six of their top seven performers.
WVIAC newcomers Seton Hill and Pitt Johnstown are not eligible for the team championship. However, both schools will participate in the conference meet on October 21 at Pipestem State Park near Athens, WV. Seton Hill and Pitt Johnstown runners will be able to compete for all individual honors and awards.
2006 WVIAC Men's Cross Country Coaches' Poll:
1. West Virginia Wesleyan (5) 113
2. Concord (3) 105
3. Alderson-Broaddus (2) 102
4. Charleston 81
5. Davis & Elkins 79
6. Wheeling Jesuit (1) 75
7. Fairmont State 51
8. Glenville State 37
9. Ohio Valley 35
10. West Liberty State 28
11. Bluefield State 16