GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men's cross country program has been picked as the preseason co-favorite to win the Southern Conference championship this season in a vote by the league's head coaches. The 2013 season will be the first year for the Spartans under the director of interim head coach Chad Pearson.
The Spartans and Furman were tied for the top spot in the preseason poll with 73 points each, with UNCG leading the way with six first-place votes while the Paladins picked up two top tallies. Additionally, Chattanooga picked up two first-place votes as the Mocs were picked to finish third with 65 total points.
UNCG is led by senior Paul Chelimo (Chebiemit, Kenya/Chebiemit Boys School) and junior Paul Katam (Eldoret, Kenya/Sacho) who finished last year's SoCon Championships in the top two spots respectively.
Chelimo is the league's two-time Runner of the Year and has won the past two SoCon Championship races. Additionally, he has earned back-to-back All-America honors in cross country placing 13th in the National Championships in 2011 and 10th in the penultimate race last season.
Katam finished second in the SoCon Championships last season and qualified for the NCAA Championships with a fifth place finish in the Southeast Regional. He was named the SoCon Freshman of the Year in 2011 when he finished fourth in the league championship race.
The Spartans open the 2013 season Aug. 30 at the Wake Forest Relays. This year's Southern Conference Championships will be held Nov. 2 in Birmingham, Ala.
2013 Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll
Team (first-place votes) - Points
T1. UNCG (6) - 73
T1. Furman (2) - 73
3. Chattanooga (2) - 65
4. Appalachian State - 64
5. Davidson - 48
6. Samford - 42
7. Western Carolina - 31
8. Elon - 25
9. The Citadel - 19
10. Wofford - 10
- UNCG -