Men's cross country tops preseason New England Division III poll

Men's cross country tops preseason New England Division III poll

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's cross country team has been named the No. 1 team in New England Division III in the 2010 preseason poll as selected by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

The Brandeis men were ranked fourth in the region at the end of the 2009 season. They qualified for their second-straight NCAA championships, finishing in 24th place out of 32 teams, third among New England schools. Coach John Evans' squad returns all seven competitors from last year's team that competed at nationals. The squads that finished ahead of them, national runners-up Williams and 17th-place Amherst, both lose three of their top five runners to graduation.

"This is a great honor," said Evans. "We're happy to get the recognition. Now we just want to be there at the end of the season."

The Brandeis team is paced by senior co-captain and 2009 All-American Paul Norton (Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional). Norton finished third at last year's New England regional championships and seventh at the NCAA championships to become Brandeis's first All-American in men's cross country since 1999. He was also selected the 2010 University Athletic Association Performer of the Meet at the UAA Indoor Track and Field championships.

The Judges return two other All-New England selections in juniors Chris Brown (No. Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) and Marc Boutin (Westford, Mass./Westford Acad.). Brown placed 18th at the New England championships last year, while Boutin, the 2008 UAA Rookie of the Year, was 32nd at regionals. They were the team's second and third runners at nationals in each of the past two seasons, with Boutin placing 117th and Brown 136th last year.

Rounding out the Brandeis scorers from last season at nationals are seniors Devon Holgate (Cumberland, R.I./Cumberland) and Kerwin Vega (Waltham, Mass./Waltham), while senior Ben Bray (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) cracked the top five at regionals. Senior Dan Anastos (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans), who was routinely among the top seven for the Judges last year, will serve as the team co-captain with Norton for the second year in a row.

In addition to their impressive group of returnees, sophomore Alex Kramer (No. Andover, Mass./No. Andover) is a talented performer who missed his rookie season due to injury, while newcomers Ed Colvin (Roslindale, Mass./Catholic Memorial School) and Taylor Dundas (Bath, Maine/Cheverus) will also look to crack the Judges' top seven.

In addition to Brandeis, two other University Athletic Association schools are the top-ranked teams in their region. New York University is ranked first in the Atlantic region, while Washington University sits atop the Midwest region rankings.

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