The Central Connecticut State University men's indoor track & field team was selected fifth in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, released today. The Blue Devils finished fourth out of 12 teams at last year's NEC Indoor Track & Field Championships. It was the best finish by CCSU since joining the league in 1998.
Monmouth, runners-up at each of the last two NEC Championships, was selected to finish first by the coaches, receiving eight first place votes. The Hawks were followed in the poll by Long Island and last year's champion, St. Francis (PA). The latter received two first place votes, while Sacred Heart garnered the final first place nod and finished fourth in the poll.
Directly after CCSU was Mount St. Mary's, Robert Morris and Bryant in sixth, seventh and eighth place, respectively. Fairleigh Dickinson, Wagner and St. Francis (NY) rounded out the 11 team poll, as they were slotted in ninth, 10th and 11th.
The Blue Devils return all but two top ten finishers at last year's NEC Championships. Senior Ry Sanderson won the 5,000 meters and placed third in the 3,000 to lead Central to its fourth place finish at last year's meet. After taking the cross country season off, he will back this winter to help CCSU improve on last year's fantastic finish.
Senior R.J. Simeone was the only other Blue Devil to score individual points on the track at last year's championship, placing fourth in the 500 meters. A healthy group of young jumpers return this winter for CCSU. Sophomores Matt Berube and Nick Trifone, as well as junior Eric Rathbun all finished in the top ten in the high jump at last year's NEC Championships, while Berube and Rathbun also placed in the long and triple jump, respectively.
Central Connecticut's first meet of the season will be at the Yale Invitational on Saturday, January 9.