The 2019 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Cross Country Championships will be held at Stanley Park, in Westfield, Massachusetts, with Bay Path University serving as the host institution. The women's race will start at 10:00 a.m., followed by the men at 11:00 a.m.
The NECC Women's Championship is up for grabs, as four of the seven schools in the field have first-year head coaches, including the defending champions, Elms College.
Under the direction of first-year head coach, Tyler Raymond, the Blazers return two top-ten finishers from their championship squad a season ago, Emily Guillerault (East Granby, Conn.) and Tyana Medina (Springfield, Mass.).
Lesley University was chosen by the NECC head coaches to win the title in the 2019 NECC Preseason Coaches Poll (finishing in a first-place tie with Elms). Lesley also has a new head coach, as Daniel Selsky has taken over the reigns. Lesley will look to their top returner from last season, Kayla Ranere (Danbury, Conn.), to make an impact. Ranere had a second-place finish at the Mitchell Invitational on September 14.
New England College is led by one of the three returning head coaches in the league, Colton Ham. The Pilgrims feature this year's only two-time NECC Women's Runner of the Week, freshman Haleigh Bilodeau (Weare, N.H). Her top finish came in the Castleton Invitational, as the rookie finished the 5K course with a time of 24:50 to finish in eighth place.
Dean College also has a returning head coach in Alycia Gervais. The Bulldogs have had young runners make an impact, including Lara Jacobs (New York, N.Y.). Jacobs finished in first in the Mitchell Invitational on September 14, garnering NECC Runner and Rookie of the Week accolades.
Mitchell College head coach Chad Johnson is in his first year, and will look to returner Grace Burns (Ridgefield, Conn.) to help lead his squad. Burns was Mitchell's top runner at the USJ Blue Jay Invitational on September 28, finishing fifth overall and covering the 5K course in a time of 24:58. Burns earned NECC Runner of the Week accolades for her efforts.
Eastern Nazarene College will also look to be in the mix, led by yet another first year head coach, Kylie Waldroop, as will host institution Bay Path University, who will once again be under the tutelage of Richard Doiron.
Like the women, the men's side is also filled with first-year coaches, with four of the six schools under new leadership.
Defending NECC Champions Dean College will be under the direction of second-year head coach Joe Cabral, and will be returning two top-ten finishers from the 2018 NECC Championship, Ryan Glynn (Abington, Mass.) and Ross Rubin (Annadale, Va.).
Elms College was picked to take the crown in the 2019 NECC Preseason Coaches Poll. Led by first-year head coach Tyler Raymond, Elms returns the 2018 NECC Rookie of the Year, Ricky Elmer (Chicopee, Mass.). Elmer was a two-time NECC Runner of the Week in 2019, with his top finish coming at the Mitchell Invitational on September 14, finishing in second with a time of 17:39.1 in the 5K race.
Eastern Nazarene College will also battle for the title. Led by first-year head coach Kylie Waldroop, the Lions return four runners from last season. Robert Gorman (Ellington, Conn.) headlines the veteran group after claiming two NECC Runner of the Week awards. Gorman posted a personal-best time of 29:05.1 in the 8K course at the Keene State Invitational on October 4.
New England College, under the direction of Colton Ham, has a young squad led by one-time NECC Runner of the Week, Torey Vater (Cohasset, Mass.). Vater has had several top–five finishes, including wins at the Castleton Invitational on September 7, and the New Hampshire Technical Institute Invitational on September 14.
Mitchell College, led by first-year head coach, Chad Johnson, will also look to a freshman to lead the way, as one-time NECC Runner of the Week, and three-time NECC Rookie of the Week, Evan Carney (North Franklin, Conn.) will pace the Mariners. Carney is coming off of a season-best time of 29:14.97 over the 8k course at the James Earley Invitational on October 12.
Lesley University will also be in the hunt for the crown in Daniel Selsky's first year as head coach.