The Central Connecticut men's cross country team was predicted to finish first in the 2014 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll for the fifth year in a row, the league announced Thursday. The Blue Devils received seven-of-eight first place votes from the league's eight head coaches and were the unanimous favorite as Central Connecticut was not allowed to vote for itself. The Blue Devils will host this years NEC Championships on Nov. 1 and will look to make it a six-peat on their very own course at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain, CT.
CCSU's hopes of extending its title supremacy are high as the Blue Devils return four All-NEC runners who finished in the top fourteen in last years NEC Championships. Junior Tyler Raymond and senior Patrick Hubbell both finished in the top ten last year with eighth and tenth place finishes respectively. Junior Andy Pullaro and sophomore Derek French also joined Hubbell and Raymond on the All-NEC list with their twelfth and thirteenth place finishes.
The Blue Devils also add another All-NEC runner to their roster in last years NEC Freshman of the Year, Ryan Hertzog. Hertzog comes over from Robert Morris and was the first freshman to cross the finish line in last years NEC Championships where he ran at a 27:47 clip, good for eleventh place.
At the helm is three-time NEC Coach of the Year Eric Blake who, since taking over the team in 2009, has never lost the championship.
The Blue Devils are set kick off the 2014 season on Saturday, August 30 at Marist University at 9:45 A.M. The first home meet of the season, the Ted Owen Invitational, will take place on Saturday, September 27 at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain, CT.
2014 Northeast Conference Coaches Poll Results
1. Central Connecticut (7)
2. Saint Francis U
3. Sacred Heart
5. Mount St. Mary's
7. Fairleigh Dickinson
8. St. Francis Brooklyn
First place votes in parentheses