EKU Men Pre-Season #1 in Southeast Region



August 26, 2013

NEW ORLEANS – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s cross country team will team open the 2013 season as the team to beat in the Southeast Region. The Colonels are ranked No. 1 in the preseason Southeast Region poll released by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday.

Virginia, the only team to beat EKU at the NCAA Southeast Regional last fall, is ranked No. 2, followed by N.C. State (No. 3), Duke (No. 4) and North Carolina (No. 5). In-state rivals Louisville (No. 6) and Kentucky (No. 13) are also ranked in the top-15.

EKU returns nearly every impact runner from last year's team that was ranked as high as No. 13 in the country, finished second at the NCAA Southeast Regional and auto-qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year.

Seniors Soufiane Bouchikhi and Wade Meddles were both cross country All-Americans last fall, while junior Ben Toroitich was one of the top runners in the region before an injury forced him to miss the NCAA Championships. Juniors Thijs Nijhuis and Ole Hesselbjerg both qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this spring and should compete for the No. 4 and 5 spots in the loaded Colonel lineup. A slew of other talented runners, including seniors Adams Ronnoh, Erwin Leysen and Sean Vandermosten and sophomores Mads Taersboel and Amos Kosgey, will add to EKU’s depth throughout the fall.

The USTFCCCA preseason national poll will be released tomorrow. EKU was recently ranked No. 16 in the country by the website flortrack.org.

The EKU women's team, meanwhile, was ranked No. 12 in the preseason Southeast Region poll. Junior Ann Eason, the 2012 OVC Female Cross Country Runner of the Year and a second team All-American in the outdoor 5,000 meters this spring, returns to lead the women's team.

The Colonels open the 2013 campaign on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the University of Kentucky Invitational in Lexington.