Sanderson Leads Blue Devils to Second Consecutive NEC Cross Country Title
The Central Connecticut men's cross country team won its second consecutive Northeast Conference Championship behind the effort of senior Ry Sanderson, Junior Sam Alexander and sophomore Craig Hunt. Sanderson won the race in 24:50 setting a new record for the 8K course at Stanley Park. The Blue Devils posted a team score of 30 to beat St. Francis University by 26 points.
Sanderson, Hunt and Alexander started the race fast, trying to run out in front of the field. The three Blue Devils quickly separated themselves from the rest of the field. Entering the final loop around the lake, Sanderson had opened a large lead over his teammates, the three Blue Devils were now far ahead of the rest of the field. Sanderson continued to expand the lead pushing himself to a course record time of 24:50 and a victory, with Alexander and Hunt finishing second and third, respectively.
Sanderson finished 18 seconds ahead of Alexander's time of 15:08, and Hunt's third place time of 15:14 was 33 seconds faster than the fourth place finisher. Junior Jeremy Schmid finished tenth in a time of 26:01 and sophomore John Krell finished 14th in 26:08 to round out the scoring for the Blue Devils. Juniors Kevin Tiernan and Anthony Gonsalves finished in 26:19 and 26:22 earning 17th and 21st, respectively. Although they did not score points for the Blue Devils Tiernan and Gonsalves blocked runners from St. Francis, Sacred Heart and Monmouth from earning those points.
Sanderson's victory was two years in the making after sitting out last season. The senior was rewarded for his efforts with the Northeast Conference Outstanding Performer Award. Sanderson, Alexander, Hunt, Schmid and Krell all received All-NEC recognition for finishing in the top-14.
The NEC cross country coaches named Eric Blake the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season as he led his team to a second straight championship.
The Blue Devils will return to action in two weeks on November 13, at the NCAA Regional.