The Central Connecticut men's cross country team was selected as the preseason favorite in the annual poll of the Northeast Conference's coaches. This is the second consecutive year that the Blue Devils are the top ranked team in the preseason. Last year the Blue Devils captured their second consecutive NEC title after being selected as the favorite.
With two-time NEC Coach of the Year Eric Blake at the helm for Central Connecticut, the Blue Devils are poised to capture their third consecutive NEC title. Despite losing 2010 NEC individual champion Ry Sanderson to graduation, there is no shortage of talent at Blake's disposal.
Sam Alexander enters his final season following a very successful junior campaign, highlighted by a second place finish at the 2010 NEC championship. Right behind Alexander at least year's conference meet was junior Craig Hunt who finished third. Joining those two runners on the All-NEC team as season ago were senior Jeremy Schmid and junior John Krell, who placed 10th and 14th, respectively. Sophomore Andrew Hill earned an NEC Rookie of the Week honor last season after his performance at the CCSU Mini Meet.
The Blue Devils dominated the NEC Championships in 2010 taking the top-three individual places in route to their second NEC Championship under Blake. Leading the way was Ry Sanderson who set a Stanley Park course record with his performance.
Blake will prepare his squad for this year's NEC meet with three home events starting with the Blue Devil Invitational. An early season trip to Monmouth will help the Blue Devils get familiar with the course for the conference meet in late October.
Central claimed 10 first place points in the poll. St Francis (PA) grabbed a pair of first place points to finish second with Sacred Heart, Monmouth and Wagner rounding out the top-five. Bryant, Mount St. Mary's, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris and St. Francis (NY) took the next five spots with Fairleigh Dickinson and Long Island rounding out the poll.