Edison, N.J. – Defending champion Iona College has been selected as the preseason favorite to win both the Men’s and Women’s 2014 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships, according to a vote of the league’s head coaches. Iona’s men’s team was voted first unanimously, earning 121 points. Iona’s women’s team earned a total of 120 points with ten of the eleven coaches’ first place votes.
In 2013, Iona’s men’s team won its 23rd straight MAAC Cross Country Championships. For the seventh time in MAAC history, the team won with a perfect score of 15. Then freshman Kieran Clements finished with a time of 25:27.94, becoming the 12th straight Gael to win the individual title. The team currently holds the NCAA Division I’s longest active conference championship streak. The Gaels finished sixth at the 2013 NCAA Championships, while Iona’s top finisher placed 38th.
Picked to finish second in men’s cross country was Canisius College receiving 104 points. Canisius placed second at last year’s MAAC Championships. With three runners finishing in the top 15, Cooper Roach, a returning junior, earned ninth as the Griffin’s top finisher, leading the team to the only other sub-100 point finish.
Rider University finished third in the men’s poll with 96 points, while Monmouth University placed fourth earning 85 points. Marist College with 76 points edged out Fairfield University, at 70 points, for fifth and sixth in the poll. Quinnipiac University earned 52 points for seventh, followed by Siena College with 47. Manhattan College placed ninth with 37 points, while Niagara University’s 27 points landed the team in tenth. Saint Peter’s University rounded out the poll with 11 points.
Iona’s women’s team won the 2013 MAAC Cross Country Championship for the ninth consecutive time. Then sophomore Kate Avery was the eighth straight Gael to win the individual title, finishing with a time of 21:04.14. Avery also finished third overall at the 2013 NCAA Championships, the highest Gael finisher ever, and is the second runner from Iona to be named an All-American. Competing on behalf of her native England, Avery recently placed fourth in the women’s 10k event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Quinnipiac University placed second in the women’s poll receiving 104 points. Last year, the Bobcats placed second at their first ever MAAC Championships, with a score of 59. Returning sophomore Niamh Ashe finished third overall with a time of 22:12.02. Ashe was one of four Bobcats to place in the top 20. Before joining the MAAC in 2013, Quinnipiac had previously won eight straight Northeast Conference titles.
Marist College placed third in the poll with 97 points. Monmouth University finished fourth with 84 points, and Canisius College and Rider University rounded out the top five by scoring 74 points each. Fairfield University received 61 points, good for seventh, followed by Niagara University with 41 points. Earning 32 points, Siena College narrowly beat out Manhattan College’s 28 points, placing the teams in ninth and tenth, respectively, followed by Saint Peter’s University with 11 points.