The Central Connecticut women's cross country team was picked to finish fourth in the Northeast Conference in the preseason coaches poll, the league announced Wednesday.
CCSU ran to fourth place at the 2011 NEC Championship and was one of only three NEC teams to compete in the NCAA Northeast Regional tournament last season in which the Blue Devils placed 26th. Central returns junior Krisztina Dearborn, who was named to the 2011 NEC All-Conference team with a time of 19:31.40 for 13th place in a field of 102 runners. Dearborn was joined in the top of the NEC Championship field with returning teammates junior Elizabeth Eberhardt, who ran a 19:50.30 for 23rd place, and sophomore Shannon McBride, who ran a 20:09.50 for 32nd place.
Despite losing 2011 NEC individual champion Alasia Griebel to graduation, CCSU looks strong going into the 2011 season and will be rejoined by Griebel as she will be returning to take on an assistant coaching position to add to her already impressive resume.
Quinnipiac topped the list earning 10 first-place votes and Sacred Heart followed with one first-place nod. Monmouth came in third with Saint Francis (PA) in fifth and Robert Morris in sixth, Bryant, Mount St. Mary's and Wagner were seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively. St. Francis (NY) and Fairleigh Dickinson rounded out the 11-team field.
The CCSU women's cross country team will kick off the 2012 season on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Bryant Invitational.