The Central Connecticut men's cross country team collected two first-place votes and was picked fourth in the 2019 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll announced Monday. The Blue Devils were one of three programs to collect first-place votes, along with the defending champion Mount St. Mary's and Wagner which each received four.
The Blue Devils finished fourth last season with three athletes being named to the 2018 All-Conference Team. Seniors Roberto Piotto and Richard Grudzwick, who joined Alex Norstrom as all-conference members, will be returning this season. Piotto came in sixth place last season at the NEC meet with a time of 26:03.3 and Grudzwick crossed the finish line 26:50.2 in 12th place.
After Mount St. Mary's and Wagner locking in the first and second spots, the Red Flash of Saint Francis U were predicted to finish third. Following the Blue Devils are Bryant in fifth-place and Sacred Heart in sixth. Taking the seventh place spot is the newcomer to the NEC, Merrimack, followed by St. Francis Brooklyn in eighth. Rounding out the 2019 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll are Fairleigh Dickinson and LIU Brooklyn.
The men's cross country team opens the 2019 season at Marist College on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 9 a.m.