Tiffin, Ohio – August 27, 2009 – The Heidelberg University men’s cross country team opens the 2009 season standing 12th in the nation according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Preseason Poll, which was released on Wednesday, August 26.
In the national poll, Heidelberg is the highest ranking Ohio Athletic Conference institution. Joining the Berg in 21st is Mount Union College, while Otterbein College received votes.
Aside from its national ranking, Heidelberg stands second behind Calvin College in the Great Lakes region.
Under the guidance of second-year head coach Keith Roberts Jr., Heidelberg is striving for its seventh overall, fourth-straight, appearance at the NCAA Championships. The Berg returns six from its 2008 national qualifying team. Aside from its NCAA Championship appearance, Heidelberg is coming off a season that saw a fourth-place finish at the Great Lakes Regional and a third-place finish at the league championship.
Leading the list of returners is senior Devin Butcher (Bowling Green, Ohio / Bowling Green). Butcher is the defending OAC Champion and earned all-region accolades a season ago. Fellow classmates Scott Lasch (Huron, Ohio / Huron) and Jake Lemon (Oak Harbor, Ohio / Oak Harbor) are back after helping to pace the Berg at nationals. Lasch earned all-league and all-region honors a season ago.
Looking to add to his All-OAC and all-region honors from his inaugural campaign will be Jamie Martin (Wooster, Ohio / Wooster). Also returning with national race experience is senior Jamie Kuess (Coldwater, Ohio / Coldwater) and sophomore Jordan Karnes (Edgerton, Ohio / Edgerton).
Heidelberg opens its season at the Wooster Invitational Sept. 1 before hosting the Berg/Dragon Invitational Sept. 5 at Clinton Heights Golf Course.