The 2019 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Men's Cross Country Coaches Preseason Poll shows that it should be a tight race at the top with Greenville University, Webster University, and Spalding University as early season favorites.

#1 Greenville University

Although they graduated the SLIAC Runner of the Year, John Mangold, Greenville University is the preseason favorites once again, garnering 67 points and seven first-place votes from the league coaches. Stepping into the top position for the Panthers this year is Dylan Goodyear, who broke out in last year's championship race to claim the individual title. He is a three-time All-Conference performer and leads a deep returning class that had two other runners place in the top six at last year's championship. Collin Kessinger ran consistenly in the 27-minute range last fall and placed 5th at the championship while Dylon Niswonger placed 6th with times averaging in the 28-minute range. Filling out the deep roster are Kaleb Carlson and Noah Dir.

Head Coach: Brian Patton

#2 Webster University

Webster University received 64 points and two first-place votes in the poll. The Gorloks are coming off a 2nd place finish at last year's championship, their highest finish as a team since 2014. They return several core runners including Nathan Freyling, who finished 4th last year and had a season low time of 26:55. Javier Cervantes, Eli Guzman, and Abram Donovan have all earned All-Conference honors during their career and will look to be more consistent this season with their times. An incoming class of Sam Baker, Cameron Sakuma, and Kaelin Triggs will push their fellow Gorloks on the course.

Head Coach: Dan Graber

#3 Spalding University

Spalding comes in at 3rd on the poll with 60 total points. The Golden Eagles return all of their top runners from a year ago including the trio of Will Brittain, Dane Thomas, and Eli Thomas who all finished in the top 10 at the conference championship. Brittain had a team best five top finishes last fall and had a low time of 27:02. Dane Thomas was the 2018 SLIAC Newcomer of the Year and twice ran under 28-minutes last season while Eli was an All-Conference runner last season as a freshman, placing 10th. Spalding also welcomes Wyatt Gatewood and Jack Vinson to the roster.

Head Coach: Bradley Sowder

#4 Principia College

Principia College was picked 4th with 53 total points. The Panthers return just three runners from last year's team, which will be anchored by Abe Ott. Ott was a pace setter for the Panthers last season, with seven top team finishes, twice running in the 26-minute mark and finished 2nd at the SLIAC Championships. Sammy Keyes is another returner for the Panthers. Stevie Keyes is an incoming freshman with promise, capping his prep career as a member of the Missouri State Champion 4x800 team.

Head Coach: Sedge Southworth

#4 Iowa Wesleyan University

Iowa Wesleyan University was 5th in the poll with 42 points. The Tigers face the unexpected loss of Joel Amor, their top runner from a year ago, and will expect Nathan Townsend to rise to fill that spot. Townsend competed in four races last season with a low time of 29:03. Ryan Hutchinson put together a breakout race at last year's championship, his only race on the season, and finishing in under 30-minutes.

Head Coach: Chris Creal

#6 Blackburn College

Coming in 6th is Blackburn College with 32 points. The Beavers will be led by Unzell Pruitt, who finished as the team's top runner in his only two races last fall. He had a personal best time of 27:28 in his season opener. David Lopez and Nicholas Johnson will add to the team depth while freshman Quintin Smith should contribute immediately.

Head Coach: Austin Kirby

#7 Fontbonne University

Fontbonne University received 30 points, finishing 7th on the poll. Top runners include Austin Joyce and Juwan Lee. Joyce twice finished as the team's top runner in a race and averages a 31-minute race. Lee was consistent and competed in every race for the Griffins last season except one. Newcomer Domenick Blanchette joins the team this fall.

Head Coach: Phillip Justin Halley

#8 MacMurray College

In 8th on the poll is MacMurray College with 27 points. The Highlanders are a young team with a first-year head coach in Zach Jensen. Among the returners are Gabe Sherrill and Zach Vespa. Sherrill had a top time of 28:57 last season while Vespa led the team with four top finishes and a team best time of 27:53.

Head Coach: Zach Jensen

#9 Westminster College

Finishing in 9th is Westminster College with 21 points. The Blue Jays welcome in first-year head coach Will Crocker. He begins is first year with the trio of Joe Labitska, Sam Moore, and Billy Murphy. Sam Moore was the top finisher for the Blue Jays in all five races last season including a team best time of 29-minutes in the SLIAC Championship. Labitska averages a 31-minute race while Murphy came on strong late in the season, dropping his personal best time by nearly four-minutes in the final race of the season.

Head Coach: Will Crocker

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