The Central Connecticut men's cross country team continued its dynasty on Saturday at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain by winning its ninth-consecutive Northeast Conference Championship spanning from 2009-2017, all under the leadership of head coach Eric Blake. The 2017 NEC Title marks the 14th conference championship for the ninth year head coach (9-XC, 5-Track).
The Blue Devils broke the Northeast Conference record for the most consecutive team championships of any sport, erasing the previous record of eight set by Quinnipiac's women's cross country team from 2005 to 2012.
Central finished its 8K home course in front of a tremendous crowd with a top score of 33 points. The Blue Devils saw four of their 10 runners finish in the top-10 led by junior Austin Trainor who finished as the runner-up with a time of 25:54.8.
Rookie Jonathan Gill was named the 2017 NEC Freshman of the Year. Gill placed 13th overall and turned in a time of 26:47.1.
Claiming the fifth, sixth and seventh spots in the final standings was CCSU junior Alex Norstrom, senior Ryan Hertzog and sophomore Roberto Piotto. The pack stuck together for the entire race. Norstrom crossed the finish line in 26:15.8, followed by Hertzog in 26:16.7 and Piotto turned in a time of 26:16.9.
In addition to Gill's outstanding performance in his first NEC title race, freshman Charlie Taubl completed the 8,000 meter course in 26:54.7 behind Gill in 16th place. Willing his way into the top-25 finishers was sophomore Richard Grudzwick with a time of 27:21.8.
Sophomore Julio Arredondo had a good race in 37th place with a time of 28:19.7. Third-year Blue Devil Kyle Welch was next in at 28:41.6 in 41st place. Rounding out the New Britain crew was junior Adonys Langual in 45th place with a final time of 29:10.5.
Saint Francis U.'s Bryce England was named the NEC Men's Cross Country Oustanding Performer after winning in a time of 25:37.2.
Sacred Heart was the men's 2017 team runner-up with 53 points and SFU followed in third with 59 points. Mount St. Mary's took fourth, Bryant (5), Wagner (6), FDU (7) and St. Francis Brooklyn (8).