MARSHFIELD, Mass. – Defending champions Lesley University has been tabbed to win its conference-leading ninth NECC Women's Cross Country title. The Lynx collected 73 points and seven first place selections in the 2018 NECC Preseason Coaches Poll. Led by 2017 NECC Coach of the Year, Brendan Peltier, Lesley is returning several top finishers from last year's championship team, including All-NECC First Team honoree Nicole Footer (Lewiston, Maine), who finished in 21:09.67, as well as the reigning NECC Women's Cross Country Rookie of the Year, and Second Team All-NECC performer, Julia Fagundes (Cranston, R.I.). The rookie finished eighth in last year's championship race, with a time of 21:47.23.
Elms College landed in second, with 69 points and one first place vote. The Blazers will be under the direction of first-year head coach Jill Bigos, and will be returning two top-15 finishers from their runner-up squad in the 2017 NECC Championship, Keara Moulton (Ashburnham, Mass.) and Tyana Medina (Springfield, Mass.) Moulton and Medina were both second team All-NECC performers, finishing with times of 22:58.85 and 23:21.44, respectively.
Finishing third in the poll with 65 points, including the remaining first place vote, is Southern Vermont College. The Mountaineers, led by second-year head coach Jarrett Blankenship, will have to replace the 2017 NECC Runner of the Year, Annika Kristiansen. They will look to returner Maddy Main (Bennington, Vt.) to lead their squad, after finishing 22nd at the 2017 NECC Championship, with a time of 24:33.01.
Newbury College was voted into the fourth slot, with a total of 48 points. Led by head coach, Henry Morales, the Nighthawks will look to their two top-20 finishers from a year ago, Mary Jok and Hamido Hassan, to make a significant impact. At the 2017 NECC Championship, Jok and Hassan finished 15th and 16th, respectively, with times of 23:26.23 and 23:43.81.
Dean College (41), Mitchell College (35), newcomers Eastern Nazarene College (32) and New England College (31), and Bay Path University (11) round out the 2018 NECC Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll.
2018 NECC Women's Cross Country Preseason Coaches Poll
- Lesley- 73 (7)
- Elms- 69 (1)
- Southern Vermont- 65 (1)
- Newbury- 48
- Dean- 41
- Mitchell- 35
- Eastern Nazarene- 32
- New England- 31
- Bay Path- 11