Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Elms College men's cross country team was selected to fourth in the 2017 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Men's Cross Country Coaches' Preseason Poll, announced by the conference office Monday. The Blazers finished tied with Mitchell College at fourth with both schools receiving 27 points.
Sixth-year Head Coach Matt Dyer will rely on four newcomers, including three freshmen, for the 2017 season as sophomore Rich Hernandez (Branford, Conn.) is the lone Blazers returning from the 2016 squad. Hernandez earned Second Team All-NECC honors with a 12th-place finish at the 2016 NECC Championship with a personal best time of 30:06.
The Blazers kick off the 2017 campaign at the SUNY-Poly Invitational on Saturday, September 2nd at 11:00 a.m.
Southern Vermont College named the clear favorite in the NECC Men's Cross Country Preseason Coaches' Poll, as voted on by the conference head coaches.
The Mountaineers finished with 47 total points and five of the first place votes. SVC returns both the reigning NECC Runner of the Year, Marc Brandenmeyer; and the 2016 Rookie of the Year, Devante Smith. There are also two other returning runners for the Mountaineers as they vie for their fourth straight NECC Title.
Lesley University tied for second in the polls with Wheelock College, as both collected 33 total points. The Lynx had the two remaining first place nods from the coaches. Lesley returns all five of their starters from the 2016 season and will try to capitalize on their experience at the NECC Championship Meet.
The Wheelock Wildcats will look to junior Christ Gentry to lead the Wildcats this season after earning All-NECC Second team honors a season ago. The Wildcats have improved their finish at each of the past three NECC Championships and hope to continue the trend this season.
Mitchell College and Elms College tied for fourth in the polls with 27 points. The Mariners return nine runners highlighted by sophomore David Stills who finished fourth at the 2016 NECC Championship.
Closing out the polls in sixth place was Newbury College with 17 points, while Dean College landed in seventh with 12 points. The Dean College Bulldogs look to make a splash as new members of the NECC.
NECC teams will begin their seasons with meets starting on Saturday, September 2nd. The NECC Championship will be held at Stanley Park in Westfield, Mass. on October 28th, 2017
2017 New England Collegiate Conference Men's Cross Country Coaches' Preseason Poll
1. Southern Vermont - 47 (5)
2. Lesley - 33
2. Wheelock - 33
4. Mitchell - 27
4. Elms - 27
6. Newbury - 17
7. Dean - 12
Source: (NECC Athletics)
ELMS CROSS COUNTRY