The Northeast Conference revealed the 2018 Preseason Cross Country Coaches Poll on Thursday afternoon, tabbing Central Connecticut at the top of the list with six first-place nods. Last season, the Blue Devils won their ninth consecutive NEC Championship under the leadership of head coach Eric Blake. With last season's championship, the Blue Devils broke the Northeast Conference record for 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.
Leading the returning runners for Central will be senior Alex Norstrom, who finished fifth in the NEC Championship last season, along with junior Roberto Piotto who finished seventh, both earning All-NEC honors. Sophomore Jonathan Gill also returns after being named the 2017 NEC Freshman of the Year.
Sacred Heart, was chosen to finish second and Mount St. Mary's third, both receiving one first place vote.
The Red Flash of Saint Francis U took the fourth place spot, ahead of Wagner in fifth place. Taking the sixth and seventh place in the 2018 Coaches Poll was Bryant and Fairleigh Dickinson, respectively. The eight-team preseason poll was rounded out by St. Francis Brooklyn.
The men's cross country team opens its season on Saturday, September 8 at the Bryant Invitational in Smithfield, RI.