The Salem News
---- — The Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association released its preseason cross country poll last week, and once again, plenty of local harriers are expected to be among the best in the state.
St. John’s Prep topped the local expectations, coming in No. 4 in the preseason boys poll. The Eagles have Tim Loehner and Liam Dow both back from last year, when they were fourth as a team at the Division 1 All-State meet.
The Peabody boys check in at No. 5, led by returning seniors Drew Fossa and Ben Braz, each all-state qualifiers a year ago. The Tanners’ former Greater Boston League foe, Cambridge Rindge & Latin, topped the poll at No. 1.
In the ‘small school’ poll, Marblehead checked in at No. 6, Gloucester received votes at No. 11 and Steve Sawyer’s always dangerous Hamilton-Wenham squad was slated No. 15.
In the girls poll, defending state champion Peabody is ranked No. 11. The Tanners have one of the Northeastern Conference’s top returning runners in Lauren Barrett, but will need to find depth to compensate for the graduation of Catarina Rocha and Heather MacLean.
Hamilton-Wenham comes in at No. 2 in the girls ‘small school’ poll, with returning runners like Emily Weigand and Emily Horgan leading the way. Marblehead is ranked No. 5 in the small.