Head coach John Kenworthy wasn't surprised when told where the coaches picked Siena's men's and women's cross country teams in the annual Preseason Poll, released today by the conference office.
"Eighth for the men and ninth for the women is what we've earned, and what I expected," Kenworthy said.
The surprise he hopes comes at the end of the season.
"We have different expectations (this year)," the second year head coach said. "We were young last year, and we were undergoing a transformation process. This year, we have a lot of those key pieces back and we're expecting to build off the momentum from the winter and spring. It's going to be an interesting year and one we're all really looking forward to."
The Saints have reason to be optimistic. The men's team returns its top four finishers from last year's MAAC Championships and the women return their top five. Juniors Tom Higgins (28th) and Christie MacFarlane (17th) were the top runners at last year's MAAC Championship meet. Sophomore Kelly Pasko was named a junior All American in February after placing ninth in the Junior Women's National 6K in Boulder, Colo.
Defending champion Iona was the preseason favorite to win both the men's and women's titles in 2014. Iona's men's team was voted first unanimously, earning 121 points. Iona's women's team earned a total of 120 points with ten of the eleven coaches' first place votes.
The Saints open their 2014 season at the Hamilton Short Course Invitational September 6.