ANDERSON, S.C. – Led by Second-Team All-South Atlantic Conference selection Parks Edwards, the Anderson men’s cross country team will look to overcome youthfulness and taste success this season.
Eighth-year head coach Randy Greer will look to blend a trio of seasoned veterans with four talented newcomers this fall, as Anderson and the rest of the South Atlantic Conference will look to break Mars Hill’s stranglehold on the conference championship, as the Lions have claimed 16 consecutive SAC titles.
Mars Hill has not finished lower than first place since Elon captured the title in 1996 – with MHU finishing second that year. The Trojans brought home third place in 2010, their inaugural campaign in the SAC, then captured the second spot in 2011 before slipping to sixth a year ago.
“As a whole, this will be one of our most talented groups in years,” said Greer. “We will be talented, but will need time to adjust to collegiate competition. They will have experience, just not at this level. They’ll gain valuable experience quickly and transition to this level, while having success.”
Edwards, a senior from Greenville, S.C. paced the Trojans on three occasions last season, finishing as high as eighth at the conference championships, while junior Joshua Visi-Clark led the AU effort at the Charlotte Invitational a year ago.
“We lost three of our top seven from a year ago, but the addition of the good newcomers will ease that loss,” added Greer. “It will be a new generation on the men’s side. Coming in, Ben (Boerma), Thomas (Garrigan) and Ned (Kennedy) are all very capable and we expect big things from them. This incoming class is reminiscent of our recent solid classes.”
“Parks was very consistent last year and should be up at the top again,” noted Greer. “We will look to his leadership this year. And after battling injuries last year, Josh will be a big part of our success.”
Anderson will travel to Spartanburg, S.C., opening its slate at USC Upstate’s Eye Opener on Sept. 6. Two weeks later, AU travels to Rock Hill, S.C., to compete in the Winthrop Invitational for the second consecutive season and third time in the last five years. Last year, Edwards led the men’s team to 19th place.
Anderson will get a preview of the NCAA Southeast Regional course on Sept. 28, when the Trojans are slated to participate in the UNC Charlotte Invitational for the third straight year. Visi-Clark paced the squad to a 28th place finish in 2012.
On Oct. 11, the Trojans return to the McAlpine Creek Park course for the Royals Cross Country Challenge, hosted by Queens University and will travel to Black Mountain, N.C. on Oct. 26 for the South Atlantic Conference Championships, which will be hosted by Mars Hill.
Following a two-week layoff, AU will return to Charlotte for the NCAA Southeast Region Championships.