FAIRIFELD, Conn. – Sacred Heart head cross country coach Christian Morrison has announced the team's schedule for the upcoming 2019 season. The slate features six regular season meets leading up to the Northeast Conference Championships in early November. In addition, the men's cross country team was picked sixth in the NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league office on Twitter this afternoon.
Coach Morrison has varied his schedule in 2019 with the addition of the UMass Invitational (Sept. 7) and the CCSU Mini Meet (Oct. 25) while still making treks to four meets the Pioneers competed in last season.
The campaign opens on August 31 with the Stony Brook Invitational before the Pioneers head to Amherst for the UMass Invitational on September 7. The Pioneers will then enjoy a three-week spell until the team's next meet on September 28 with the Ted Owen Invitational. This meet serves as a tune-up for SHU as the race is held at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain, Connecticut, the host site of the 2019 NEC Championships.
Competition ramps up in the month of October with three meets, starting with the New England Championships at Franklin Park in Boston on October 12. The following weekend, the Pioneers head back up to the Green Mountain State for the Vermont Invitational, a meet in which SHU participated in last season. The month finishes with the CCSU Mini Meet on October 25, providing another competition previewing the conference championship meet at Stanley Quarter Park.
The championship season begins on November 2 with the NEC Championships scheduled to go off at 11 AM in New Britain. The NCAA Northeast Regional will be held at the Audubon Golf Course this season on November 15 in Amherst, New York. The season closes with qualified runners competing in the IC4A Championship held at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx or at the NCAA National Championships held in Indiana on November 23.
Sacred Heart envisions a return to form in 2019 after finishing sixth at the 2018 NEC Championships. In the three years prior to 2018, the Pioneers finished as the league's runner-up (2015-17).
The Pioneers will have to replace Dane Krchnavy, their top runner in 2018, but return loads of depth with experience in sophomore Corey Picard, junior Moetiz Shilleh, junior Ryan Corbett, senior Nicholas Pandolfo and senior Scott Curtis. That combination placed second through fifth on the team at last year's NEC Championship meet, respectively, and hope to lead the Pioneers to a bounce-back season in 2019.
Mount St. Mary's, who took home their first league title since 1998, was deemed the league's preseason favorite with four first place votes. Wagner also picked up four first place votes and were second in the poll while Saint Francis U is third. CCSU saw their nine-year run as NEC Champion end in 2018 and were chosen fourth in the poll with the remaining two first place votes. Rounding out the poll is Bryant, Sacred Heart, Merrimack, St. Francis Brooklyn, Fairleigh Dickinson and LIU in fifth through 10th place.
2019 NEC Men's Cross Country Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Mount St. Mary's (4 First-Place Votes)
2. Wagner (4)
3. Saint Francis U.
4. CCSU (2)
6. Sacred Heart
8. St. Francis Brooklyn
9. Fairleigh Dickinson