SAC Cross Country Championships Set for SaturdayOctober 25, 2013
BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. – The 2013-14 SAC Championship season officially gets underway on Saturday, as student-athletes from all 12 member institutions will compete at the Food Lion SAC Cross Country Championship in Black Mountain, N.C.
The women’s 5K race will begin at 9 a.m., followed by the men’s 8K at approximately 10:15. Both races will take place at Montreat College’s Black Mountain campus.
In the women’s championship, Lenoir-Rhyne will be looking to defend last year’s SAC title, which was the program’s third since 2008. The Bears are ranked ninth in the latest USTFCCCA Southeast Region poll.
Among the competitors in the women’s race will be reigning SAC Runner of the Year Keeley Wood of Wingate, who captured last season’s individual title with a time of 19.27. Behind Wood, Wingate has won team championships at four events in 2013 and is currently the top-ranked program in the USTFCCCA Southeast Region poll.
Also earning spots in the most recent USTFCCCA Southeast Region rankings are Queens at No. 7 and Anderson at No. 10.
The Trojan women are coming off a two-week layoff after competing at the Royals Challenge, hosted by Queens University of Charlotte. Freshman Olivia Gardner paced AU through the first three meets of the season, while veteran Sydney Hazel led the squad with a season-best effort at the Royals Challenge.
Anderson has placed in the top-10 in every event this season, with its highest finish at fourth at the Winthrop Invitational on Sept. 21.
As a team, the Trojans finished eighth at the Royals Challenge, with Hazel claiming 25th. Freshman Bari Robinson finished 36th, while Gardner crossed the line in 42nd. Senior Hannah Robles placed 82nd, freshman Grace Gerlock finished 96th, while fellow freshman Amber Worthy crossed the line in 106th.
Sophomore Devan Fisher placed 131st, with freshman Mia Swiersz finishing 141st and junior Madison Guest earning 172nd.
On the men’s side, Mars Hill will attempt to continue its dominance of SAC cross country, as the Lions have won a record 16-straight conference titles. MHU enters the championship ranked No. 5 in the Southeast Region by the USTFCCCA.
Mars Hill is joined in the USTFCCCA Southeast Region rankings by No. 9 Lenoir-Rhyne, which finished third at the 2012 SAC Championship.
Wingate’s Steve Hammond will look to become just the fourth multiple-time SAC Male Runner of the Year in conference history on Saturday after winning last year’s individual title in a time of 26.26.
SAC men’s programs have won a pair of team championships this season, with Catawba capturing September’s Catawba Invitational and Lincoln Memorial finishing first at the recent Tiger Twilight Invitational.
The Trojan men’s squad captured 14th at the Royals Challenge two weeks ago, with senior Parks Edwards pacing AU for the third time in four events this fall. AU posted three top-10 finishes during the regular season, while notching a season-best sixth at Winthrop.
Edwards crossed the finish line with a season-best effort and placed 51st, while freshman Ben Boerma, who led AU’s effort at the Charlotte Invitational, captured 70th. Freshman Westley Wilson finished 81st, with freshmen Thomas Garrigan and Ned Kennedy placing 89th and 90th, respectively. Another newcomer, Jesse Patrick crossed the finish line in 103rd and fellow freshman Michael Burch rounded out the AU contingent in 147th.
Complete SAC Championship results will be available at theSAC.com shortly after the completion of Saturday’s races. Live updates from the championship will also appear on the conference’s official Twitter page (@SAC_Athletics).