West Babylon, N.Y. - Roberts Wesleyan's men's and women's cross country teams, winners of the past four ECC Championships, have been picked to make it five straight in the annual league coaches' preseason poll. Sophomore Noah Simatei (Eldoret, Kenya) of NYIT and junior Aida Torpey (Tomkins Cove, N.Y.) of St. Thomas Aquinas were named the ECC Preseason Runner of the Year for their respective gender.
Both Roberts Wesleyan squads were nearly unanimous selections as the preseason favorite, losing just one vote to NYIT in each poll. Both teams have reason for optimism that their streak of domination will continue with numerous All-Conference runners back this fall.
The men's team returns reigning ECC Runner of the Year, Josiah Ottolini, as well as Christopher Sims, Justin Shaffer, Benjamin Matz, Anthony Casullo, and Nathan Cannon, all of whom were All-Conference First Team selections by finishing in the top-seven at last year's ECC Championship. The women's team also has six All-Conference honorees back on the trails this fall with the return of Ashley Watson, Brittany Shumway, Michaela Brierly, Addison Sgroi, Moriah Martone, and Makenzie Widder.
In both the men's and women's poll, St. Thomas Aquinas and Daemen trail the Redhawks to round out the top three.
Simatei earns the Men's Preseason Runner of the Year honor after an outstanding debut season for NYIT. Simatei came in second at the ECC Championship in a time of 24:59.27 to claim a spot on the All-Conference First Team and the league's Rookie of the Year honor. In addition, the five-time ECC Runner of the Week crossed the finish line first at four different meets (NYIT Invitational, LIU Post Invitational, NJIT Invitational, Fordham Fiasco). on the season.
After two consecutive seasons as an All-Conference honoree, Torpey begins the year as the Women's Preseason Runner of the Year. In 2017, Torpey earned her first All-Conference First Team nod after coming in third place at the ECC Championship in a time of 18:42.44. She also posted two other top-five finishes on the year, coming in fourth at the NYIT Invitational and second at the NJIT Highlander Challenge. A 22nd place finish at the NCAA East Regional also gave Torpey a spot on the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Region team.
2018 ECC Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll
|1. Roberts Wesleyan (7)||63|
|2. St. Thomas Aquinas||54|
|4. NYIT (1)||39|
|6. LIU Post||23|
2018 ECC Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll
|1. Roberts Wesleyan (8)||80|
|2. St. Thomas Aquinas||70|
|5. LIU Post||43|
|7. NYIT (1)||36|
|8. District of Columbia||15|
( ) - first place votes