NEW ORLEANS – The UMBC men's cross country team is ranked 14th in the Mid-Atlantic Region in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Association preseason poll which was released on Monday afternoon.
Princeton, who finished third at last year's regional meet at Penn State, leads the regional poll with two-time defending champion Georgetown just behind in second. Villanova, American, and Penn State round out the top-five in the Mid-Atlantic regional poll.
The Retrievers took third at the America East Championships a year ago, earning their top conference finish since winning the league in 2005. Brandan McGee (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood) finished seventh overall, earning All-Conference honors, while Tom Eldridge (Rocky River, Ohio/Rocky River), Eric Schuler (Columbia, Md./Reservoir), Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley), and Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) also placed in the top-20.
Two weeks later UMBC continued its strong late-season form by finishing 14th at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals, paced again by McGee who took 41st.
"I believe our team is deserving of the ranking," said sixth-year head coach Matt Gittermann. "By losing only one runner from last year's regional meet, we should be contending for a top-ten finish this time around should everything go to plan."
The Retrievers return a total 15 letter-winners from a last year's squad, including all five scorers from the America East meet while losing just one scorer from the race at Penn State.
The UMBC cross country teams open their 2013 season on Sept. 7 at the Binghamton Pre-Conference Meet in Vestal, N.Y. The Retrievers return to Maryland the very next week for the Navy Invitational and Salty Dog Invitational in Annapolis on Sept. 14.