Date Posted:10/31/2002,  8:00AM

NESCAC Cross-Country Preview

BRUNSWICK, Maine - Tufts University will host the 2002 NESCAC Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 2 at the Tufts Cross Country Course in Grafton, Massachusetts.

The Bowdoin men and Middlebury women prepare to defend their titles with the women's race beginning at 1:00 pm and the men's race following at 2:00 pm. The race figures to be highly competitive as three men's programs and five women's programs were ranked in the October 29 national coaches poll top 25.

Two-time defending NCAA Champion Middlebury have won the NESCAC Women's Championship the last four consecutive seasons. NESCAC squads head the women's top 25 with Williams and Middlebury running one-two in the national poll. Trinity is ranked 12th, Bowdoin 17th, and Hamilton 21st. The Williams women will be led by senior Julia Bensen and sophomore Jen Campbell who placed second and third at the 2001 NESCAC Championship. Middlebury returns their top four finishers from last season all of whom finished in the top 12.

In the 2001 men's race, the Bowdoin men dethroned Williams who had captured the title the seven previous championships. Bowdoin's men are currently ranked 8th nationally and third in the northeast. Williams and Bates are ranked second and fourth in the northeast respectively. Last year's NESCAC medalist and All-American Ryan Bak of Trinity will return to defend his crown. Bak will be joined by teammate Jim Emord who finished third last year.

One of the best spectator courses in New England, the Tufts Cross Country course opened in 1997 at the Tufts Veterinary School in Grafton, Mass. Fully contained in a hayfield, the entire course is viewable from a central hill except for a brief section in the woods. The course has been home to three ECAC Championships over the last five years. The collegiate men's 8k record is 25:30.0. The collegiate women's 5k record is 17:54.9.

Text taken from NESCAC Release