Eric Blake enters his third season as the head coach for both the men's and women's cross country and track teams. He is in his fourth year as the head coach of the men's running teams, and has won four Northeast Conference Championships. Blake, a 2002 CCSU graduate, was appointed the head coach of the men's teams in August of 2009 and head of the women's program in August of 2010.
Under Blake the Blue Devil men have won three back-to-back Northeast Conference Cross Country Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011. This past season, Central runners finished strong at the NEC meet as Sam Alexander took the Individual NEC Outstanding Performer award. Under Blake, Alasia Griebel also finished strong on the women's cross country team earning the Individual NEC Championship. Blake also earned NEC Coach of the Year honors during both of those championship seasons.
The Blue Devil track and field program completed an incredible turn around last season by winning the 2011 NEC Indoor Track and Field Championship. Blake earned another NEC Coach of the Year honor for helping his team complete a worst-to-first turn around over only three seasons.
"We are pleased that Eric will be overseeing both our men's and women's cross country and track programs," Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann said. "Eric's work ethic, commitment to, and understanding of Central Athletics is a winning combination. His leadership of our men's programs this past season was exceptional. He embodies the best of what Central Athletics stands for and we are confident he can lead our women's programs to a similar level of success."
A four-year member of the cross country and track teams while at
Central, Blake graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in
education (mathematics). Prior to attending CCSU, the
Lebanon, CT native was the 1996 state open cross country
Blake earned a master's degree from Adams State College, where he was a member of the school's Division II cross country and track teams. Following his graduation from Adams State, Blake was the head coach for the Plattsburgh State men's and women's cross country teams. He also was an assistant coach for the track and field squads. He served as an assistant with the Blue Devils prior to his appointment as head coach in August.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I look forward to working with and developing both our men's and women's programs," Blake said following the announcement. "My first year as a head coach at my alma mater was a very rewarding one. Our men's team worked hard and competed at a high level throughout the cross country and track seasons. I am excited about creating a similar work ethic and championship attitude with our women's program."
Blake is currently a six-time member of the U.S.A.T.F. Mountain Running Team. He recently finished third in the Mount Washington Road Race. His finish qualifies him as a member of Team USA at the World Mountain Running Championships in Slovenia. In 2004 Blake qualified and competed at the Olympic Marathon Trials.
In April of 2009, Blake was the first New England finisher in the Boston Marathon for the second straight year. He finished in 24th overall place with a time of two hours and 23 minutes.
In addition to being a 2012 USA Track and Field member, Blake is affiliated with the La Sportiva Mountain Running team. He is also a USATF certified Level 1, 2 and 3 Coach.
Sam Alexander enters his first season as assistant coach for the Blue Devil cross country and track and field teams. A former Central student-athlete and two-time Northeast Conference Athlete of the Week (10/11/11, 9/28/10), Alexander was awarded numerous NEC accolades throughout his running career as a Blue Devil. In addition to leading the CCSU men’s cross country team to their third-straight NEC victory, Alexander was awarded the 2011 NEC Individual Champion title, recognized as a member of the 2011 NEC Academic Honor Roll and named 2011 NEC Fall Scholar-Athlete. He was also a member of the NEC All-Conference team in both 2010 and 2011 finishing first with a time of 25:59.10 in 2011 and second in 2010 with a 25:08.20.
He excelled in outdoor and indoor track as well placing first in both the 5,000 and the 10,000 meter in the 2012 NEC Outdoor Championships. He earned first in the 2012 New England Indoor Championships in the 3,000 meter and second in the NEC Indoor Championships in the 3,000 and 5,000 meter races. From 2010 to 2012, Alexander earned 16 top-four finishes in championship events.
His personal best times throughout his collegiate career include 4:16 in the outdoor mile event (2011), a 14:07 in the outdoor 5k (2012) and a 29:21 in the outdoor 10k (2012).
In addition to collegiate events, Alexander also competes in road races and finished first in 2012 at the Battle of Stonington and at the Run 4 Kerri. He earned a first place finish in 2009 at the John J. Kelley Road Race and fourth at the Sailfest 5K. He is also a member of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA).
Alexander graduated from Central in the spring 2012 with a degree in geography and a minor in geographic information systems. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree from CCSU in geography with an emphasis in planning.
Prior to attending Central, the Waterford, CT native attended Waterford High School where he was a member of the varsity cross country and track and field teams from Fall 2004 through Spring 2008.
Alasia Griebel enters her first year as an assistant coach for the CCSU cross country and track and field teams. A former Central standout, Griebel earned numerous Northeast Conference accolades in just one year as a Blue Devil including the 2011 NEC Individual Champion title. She finished with a time of 18:42.10 at the NEC Championships for first place, earning a spot on the 2011 All-Conference team for her performance. Griebel was also named to the 2011 NEC Fall Academic Honor Roll and the 2011 NEC Fall Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
Prior to her success at Central, Griebel competed in cross country and track and field for Southern Connecticut State University where she was an NCAA qualifier and earned a multitude of Northeast-10 Conference awards including Conference Champion in the mile and distance medley relay (indoor) and in the 1,500 meters (outdoor). She was also named to the Northeast-10 Conference Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field All-Academic team and to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Griebel earned All-Region recognition in the mile (indoor), the distance medley relay (indoor), the 800 meter (outdoor) and in the 1,500 meter (outdoor). She was named All-New England in the mile, the 4x800 relay and in the distance medley relay (indoors) as well as in the 1,500 meter (outdoor).
Griebel’s collegiate bests include 2:13.15 in the 800 meter, 2:56.67 in the 1,000 meter, 4:28.13 in the 1,500 meter, 4:52.63 in the one mile and 10:21.17 in the 3,000 meter.
“I am extremely excited for this year” Griebel said. “We have a very strong men’s and women’s team. I am very fortunate to be working with the athletes and coaches I had the privilege of racing my last season with.” In addition to coaching the Blue Devil cross country and track and field teams, Griebel plans to continue to run post-collegiately, mostly on the track in middle distance events.
The Bristol, CT native graduated from SCSU Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology in May 2011. She is currently working on her certification and master’s degree in special education at CCSU.