ROCK HILL, S.C. – After earning third place at last season’s South Atlantic Conference Championships, the Anderson men’s cross country team has been predicted to finish third in the 2014 preseason coaches’ poll, as released by the league office Thursday morning.
With just two upperclassmen and five sophomores on the roster, the Trojans captured the third slot with 95 points, behind 17-time defending conference champion Mars Hill, which tallied 120 points and 10 first-place votes, and Queens. Following Queens’ impressive second-place outing in its inaugural season in the SAC, the Royals claimed the second slot behind MHU, with a pair of first-place votes and 112 points.
The Trojans’ lone senior, Joshua Visi-Clark, posted a season-best in late September at the Charlotte Invitational, while graduate student Westley Wilson posted a personal-best time at the Royals Challenge.
Sophomore Ben Boerma paced the Trojans at the Charlotte Invitational with his season-best time and was less than three seconds from earning the fifth and final spot for all-freshman accolades at the 2013 South Atlantic Conference Championships. Fellow sophomore Michael Burch closed the season on a strong note, garnering a season-best time at the league championships, while Thomas Garrigan posted back-to-back personal-bests at the Royals Challenge and at the SAC Championships.
Classmate Ned Kennedy also posted a new personal best effort at the Royals Challenge and sophomore Jesse Patrick notched his personal best at the Charlotte Invitational.
Brevard and Lincoln Memorial each garnered 80 points, tying for the fourth spot after Brevard edged LMU for fourth at the 2013 championships. After finishing no lower than fourth over the past decade, Wingate slipped to sixth last season and appeared in sixth in the preseason poll at No. 6, while gathering 78 points. Lenoir-Rhyne was seventh in the poll with 68 points, followed by Carson-Newman, Tusculum and Coker.
Catawba and Newberry rounded out the poll at 11th and 12th, respectively.
Anderson opens the season on Sept. 6 at the Queens Twilight meet in Charlotte, N.C.
2014 SAC Preseason Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Poll
School (1st Place Votes) Points
Mars Hill (10) 120
Queens (2) 112
Lincoln Memorial 80