Johnson & Wales University took the top spot by a nose in this year’s women’s cross country pre-season poll, barely edging out conference rivals Emerson College and Emmanuel College. JWU picked up 62 points in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference coaches’ poll following a 34th place showing at last year’s NCAA Division III New England Regional and a second-place finish at the 2009 GNAC Championships. Emerson, last year’s GNAC champion, tied Emmanuel for second place in the coaches’ poll with 61 points. This year’s GNAC Championship will take place at St. Joseph’s College of Maine, on October 30, 2010.
- Johnson & Wales University (62)
- Emerson College (61) and Emmanuel College (61)
1. Johnson & Wales (62)
Johnson & Wales University notched a strong 34th place finish at the 2009 NCAA Division III New England Regional meet last year, on the backs of then-senior Alexandra Wessman (102nd place), Lindsay Panny (179th place), and Amanda Charbonneau (197th place). The Wildcats lost Wessman - and her sensational career - to graduation, but Panny, a junior, and Charonneau, a senior, should shoulder the load. Panny and Charbonneau each also placed in the top ten at the 2009 GNAC Championship meet, earning all-conference honors along the way.
The Wildcats open their season on September 11, 2010 at the Roger Williams Invitational in Bristol, Rhode Island. Season highlights include a trip to Standish, Maine for the St. Joseph’s Monks Invitational on October 9, 2010, and a stand in Boston at the Emmanuel Invitational on October 15, 2010.
2. Emerson College (61)
Emerson, last year’s GNAC Champion meet winner, looks to stay strong following the loss of first-year up-and-comer Caprice Capucci to transfer. Capucci was the GNAC Runner of the Year and the conference’s Rookie of the Year. The Lions plan on roaring back, though, on the strength of senior Car Viglienzoni, who trailed only Capucci en route to a second-place finish at the GNAC Championship meet in 2009. Viglienzoni, no stranger to the podium, also took home two individual first-place finishes last year. Senior Jeanne Hannigan should also log a solid season, and sophomore triumvirate Courtney Carter, Heather Hogland and Courtney Halpin should also turn heads.
The Lions will kick off their season at Emmanuel College and Wheelock College in Boston on September 4, 2010. As part of their regional schedule, they’ll make stops at Rivier College (September 24, 2010) and at the Pop Crowell Invitational at Gordon College (October 2, 2010), before heading to St, Joseph’s College (Me.) to defend their conference championship on October 30, 2010.
2. Emmanuel College (61)
Emmanuel College, having not lost any runners to graduation, will return ten veterans to the pack this year. The Saints finished in third place at the 2009 GNAC Championship meet, and are poised to make noise in the conference using a balanced, consistent roster. Senior Victoria Cole picked up two conference Weekly Honor Roll nods after placing first for the Saints in two meets last fall. Classmate Meredith Martelli also turned in strong performances last year. Junior Brittany Sorice set a program record in her two-mile run at the Saints’ dual meet with Wheelock College last year, leading to a GNAC Runner of the Week pick. Juniors Stephanie Gomes and Marissa LaFlamme, and sophomore Meghan Reddy, will provide a solid backbone to the team. Sophomore sensation Joslyn DelSignore, who picked up four bids to the GNAC Weekly Honor Roll during the 2009 campaign, will round out the Saints’ youth movement.
Emmanuel will host a dual meet with Wheelock College on September 4, 2010, and will host the 6th Annual Saints Invitational in Boston’s Franklin Park on October 15, 2010. Travel will include stops at the Lt. Travis Fuller Invitational at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (September 11, 2010) and the Pop Crowell Invitational at Gordon College (October 2, 2010).