Westwood, Mass. (August 31) -- The MIT women's cross country team, coming off a fifth-place showing at the 2016 NCAA Division III National Championship, has been chosen first in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Preseason Coaches Poll. The Engineers, who claimed the program's 10th straight league title last season, were also the NCAA New England Regional Champions a year ago.
Entering this year as No. 3 in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Preseason National Poll, the Engineers return three of their top five runners this season. Under the direction of head coach Halston Taylor, MIT opens the regular season at the Purple Valley Classic on September 23rd at Williams College.
Sophomore Megan McCandless (Livermore, Calif.), the 2016 NEWMAC Runner and Rookie of the Year and a USTFCCCA All-American, leads the group of returners for the Engineers. Overall, MIT welcomes back three All-Region runners in McCandless, senior Mary Eccles (Wahiawa, Hawaii) and junior Leandra Zimmermann (Augsburg, Germany), along with 10 NEWMAC All-Conference performers.
NEWMAC Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll
1. MIT (10)
4. Coast Guard
6. Wheaton (1)
T9. Mount Holyoke
(First-place votes in parentheses)