Fairfax, Va. - George Mason University's men's cross country team will begin the 2015 season as No. 14 in the Southeast region, according to the rankings released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday.
"I think it is a pretty good place to be at the start of the season," said Director of Men's and Women's Track & Field and Cross Country Andrew Gerard. "But obviously at this stage rankings are kind of irrelevant because people haven't put their cards on the table yet."
The Patriots finished the 2014 season as No. 13 in the region after winning the Atlantic 10 title, but lost their top finisher Michael Conway due to graduation.
There are no changes at the top of the of the Southeast in respect to the final results of the 2014 season, with Virginia, Furman, North Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, and NC State, in that order, retaining the top five spots. Following the Wolfpack are their Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Virginia Tech and Louisville, while Kentucky, Wake Forest, and High Point round off the top 10.
Duke, the only team that was not ranked at the end of last season, takes the No. 11 spot, followed by Mason's former Colonial Athletic Association rival William and Mary. Appalachian State sits in the omenous No. 13 spot, while Liberty was ranked just behind the Patriots at No. 15, the same position it held in the final rankings for the 2014 season.
"The nice thing about cross country is that regardless of where you are ranked, everybody runs at the regional championship, so your end result is not dependent on what somebody thinks or how somebody votes, it's dependent on your results at the end of the year," Gerard said.
The Patriots' men's and women's teams begin their season this Saturday, Sept. 5, at the Spider Alumni Open, which will take place at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, Va.