The Central Connecticut men's cross country team was tabbed as the unanimous favorite in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll released by the league on Thursday. The Blue Devils have won the past seven conference titles and received seven first-place votes in the poll. Coaches could not vote for their own squad.
Head coach Eric Blake was named the league's Coach of the Year for the second straight season and fifth time in seven seasons after last year. The Blue Devils had six runners earn All-Northeast Conference honors last season, including sophomore Austin Trainor, who was named the 2015 NEC Freshman of the Year after finishing sixth among individuals.
CCSU is the only men's cross country squad in conference history to win seven straight championships, and one of just three programs to win seven straight titles in any sport. Mount St. Mary's women's tennis (seven straight, 1989-95) and Quinnipiac women's cross country (eight straight, 2005-12) are the only programs with stretches of success as long as Central's.
Sacred Heart collected the other first-place vote and was picked second in the poll. The 2016 NEC Championships will be held in Loretto, PA, at Saint Francis U on October 29.