The Northeast Conference announced the 2010 Men's Cross Country Coaches Poll on Tuesday afternoon with the Sacred Heart Pioneers picked to finish third among the league's 12 teams at this season's championship race.
The defending champion Central Connecticut State Blue Devils were tabbed as this year's favorite receiving ten first place votes from the league's coaches. The Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash received the polls remaining two first place votes earing the second spot just in front of the Pioneers. Quinnipiac was slated to finish fourth, followed by Monmouth and Wagner in the thick of the pack at fifth and sixth. The predicted order of finished continued with Mount St. Mary's capturing the seventh spot, with Long Island in eighth and Robert Morris in ninth. Rounding out the field of 12 were Bryant, Saint Francis (NY) and Farleigh Dickinson.
The Pioneers, who finished fourth at last season's NEC Championship held at Quinnipiac University, will be eyeing their first ever title when the race stays instate and moves to Central Connecticut State on Saturday, October 30th at Stanley Quarter Park.
Senior Andrew Houghtalen (West Charlton, NY) led the way in last year's NEC race for the Pioneers, finishing 12th in 26:59, a time good enough to earn All-Conference honors. Houghtalen regular season included NEC Athlete of the Week recognition after a fourth place finish at the Fordham Invitational. Close behind the senior at the NEC meet was junior Jeffery Lusignan (East Montpelier, VT), who posted a 27:07 for 14th place and the final spot on the All-NEC roster. Bulking up the class of returning Pioneers is red shirt senior Brendan Rickert (Danbury, CT) and junior Richard Marcello (Foster, RI). Rickert placed 15th in 2008 and Marcello notched 24th the 2009 NEC postseason event.