FAIRFIELD, CT - The Northeast Conference announced the results of the 2011 Cross Country Preseason Coaches Poll and the Sacred Heart men's and women's teams were picked to finish third in the annual vote taken by the league's head coaches. The Central Connecticut State men were selected to defend their title from a year ago while the Quinnipiac women were predicted to win their seventh-straight title this fall.
After posting its second consecutive third-place finish at last years title meet, Sacred Heart will look to break through in the 2011 season and claim the one honor that has eluded the Pioneers: an NEC championship. Led by 18th year head coach Christian Morrison, the Pioneers return a solid group of runners led by two-time All-Conference honoree Jeffrey Lusignan (East Montpelier, VT/US-32). The senior will look to make this season his best yet after an impressive fourth-place (25:47) overall finish at last year's NEC event. Lusignan was also honored with an All-East nod after his top-25 finish at the ECAC Championships. Senior Richard Marcello (Foster, RI/Scituate) and junior Colin Seidl (Cochecton NY/Sullivan West Central) also bring depth to the team with Marcello finishing second on the Pioneers at the NCAA Northeast Regional, completing the 10K course in 32:57. While Seidl narrowly missed picking up All-Conference honors - he finishing 15th at the league meet with a time of 26:15 - it marked an improvement from his 24th place finish in 2009.
The SHU women will be looking to dethrone the Bobcats and bring back a title to the Fairfield campus. Despite losing 2010 ECAC Champion and 2009 NEC individual champ Kimberly DeLoreto to graduation, the Pioneers welcome back a solid group of runners who will look to fill the void. Sophomore Brittany Lane (Greenwich, CT/Greenwich) comes off a successful freshman campaign in which she placed 16th overall at the NEC Championships with a time of 18:31. Lane also performed well at the Albany Invitational, posting a time of 18:40, which was good enough for 24th overall. Sacred Heart will also look to juniors Megan Papp (Niantic, CT/East Lyme) and Alyssa Selmquist (Northfield, CT/North Branford), who consistently placed in the top-five for the Pioneers during the 2010 season. Papp recorded a fourth place (19:39) finish at the Fairfield Invitational, while Selmquist crossed the line sixth (19:44). Papp also found success at the CCSU Invitational, taking second with a season best time of 19:27.
The season gets underway on Saturday, September 10th at the Fordham Invitational at Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. The 2011 Northeast Conference Championship will be hosted by Monmouth University at Holmdel Park on October 29th.