Men’s Cross Country 2018 Preview: NECC Coaches Select Mountaineers to Claim Fifth League Title in Preseason Poll

men's cross country preseason poll; isaiah backels runs

ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) announced on Tuesday the results of its 2018 men's cross country preseason poll with Southern Vermont College being chosen to once again win the league championship.

SVC received seven of the eight first-place votes which were cast as coaches from around the Conference selected the Mountaineers to hoist the trophy for the fifth-straight year.

"Winning is no secret," said second-year SVC head coach Jarrett Blankenship. "You have to have five guys who work day-in and day-out in order to get the job done. It's important to train hard, but above everything else, staying healthy is essential. If you can simply stay healthy, you can build your fitness from week to week."

Among the five Mountaineers returning for Coach Blankenship are a pair of runners who made their way to the All-NECC First Team in the 2017 title meet: junior Davanté Smith(Ellenville, N.Y.) and Bennington College sophomore C.G. Holden (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Smith finished second overall at 28:52 while Holden was third for SVC and fifth overall at 29:53.

"If we can do a lot of seemingly-small things really well, the chances of repeating as NECC champs improves drastically," Blankenship noted. "I think the guys now expect to win, but I think they recognize that they have a huge target on their backs. They know they need to work harder than ever to repeat."

Southern Vermont begins its 2018 campaign on Saturday, September 1 with its Mountaineer Invitational on the SVC campus; that 5k is slated to begin at 11:15 a.m. The team is then scheduled to run another five races in preparation for the Conference Championship being held at Elms College on October 27.

2018 NECC Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll

1. Southern Vermont – 62 (7)
2. Dean – 50
3. Elms – 45 (1)
4. Newbury – 40
5. Mitchell – 29
6. New England College – 23
7. Eastern Nazarene – 20
8. Lesley – 19

(Parentheses denote first-place votes)

– #LetsGoSVC –