Guilford Cross Country Ranked in Preseason ODAC Polls

Greensboro, N.C. — Old Dominion Athletic Conference cross country coaches tabbed Guilford College’s men’s team sixth and the Quakers’ women seventh in their annual preseason polls, released Tuesday afternoon. Washington and Lee University, the defending men’s and women’s league champions, earned the poll’s top spots.

The Quakers’ men return six letter winners from last year’s team, which placed a school-record sixth among 10 teams at the 2007 ODAC Championships. While Guilford will miss the top runner from last year’s team, Jeremy Bante ’08, the Quakers look forward to the return of junior Kevin Smith (Boone, N.C./Watauga). Guilford’s number-two runner in 2006, Smith missed the 2007 campaign while studying abroad. He joins senior captain Chris Walker (Youngsville, N.C./Franklinton) and junior captain Tyler Brown (Granite Falls, N.C./South Caldwell) as the Quakers’ most experienced runners in 2008.

Guilford’s women have four letter winners back from 2007, including sophomore Grace Normann (Frankfort, Maine/Belfast). Normann had the Quakers’ top time in six of eight meets last year, including the fastest six-kilometer time in school history (26:57.7), which placed 23rd overall. Guilford finished seventh among nine teams at last year’s meet, its best finish since adding the sport in 2004. Junior Dana Small (Asheboro, N.C./Asheboro), a two-year letter winner, captains this year’s team.

Guilford opens the season Saturday (Aug. 30) at the Marlin Invitational in Virginia Beach, Va. The contest will mark the first for Quakers’ head coach Heidi Pinkerton, who was hired earlier this month after completing a stellar cross country and track career at UNC Greensboro.

2008 ODAC Men’s Cross Country Coaches Poll
1. Washington and Lee
2. Lynchburg
3. Bridgewater
4. Roanoke
5. Virginia Wesleyan
6. Guilford
7. Hampden-Sydney
8. Emory & Henry
9. Eastern Mennonite
10. Randolph

2008 ODAC Women’s Cross Country Coaches Poll
1. Washington and Lee
2. Roanoke
3. Lynchburg
4. Bridgewater
5. Virginia Wesleyan
6. Eastern Mennonite
7. Guilford
8. Randolph
9. Emory & Henry