ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University men's and women's cross country teams are set to open the 2017 campaign Friday night at the USC Upstate Eye Opener in Spartanburg, S.C.
The women's race is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. with the men's race to follow at the Milliken Research Center.
Friday night will mark the Black and Gold's second straight appearance in the event after the Trojan women's squad placed fourth a season ago, with the men's team finishing seventh with a limited number of runners competing on each side.
Breck Jones paced the Trojan women over the 5K course last season, covering the distance in a time of 20:17.26 and finishing third among NCAA Division II runners. Abigail Bozarth (20:36.19) claimed sixth, while Morgan Bridges placed seventh in a time of 20:44.80.
The Trojan women's team, which boasts 11 returning letterwinners, including five seniors and three juniors was ranked second in the Southeast Region earlier this week by the USTFCCCA and boasts a deep roster, with 20 runners listed.
Senior Haylee Love headlines a group that earned All-Region and numerous All-Conference accolades a season ago, with a talented pool of newcomers that will be expected to push the veterans. Love is coming off a junior campaign that saw the Lexington, S.C., native make an appearance at the NCAA Championships, while capturing all-region and all-conference honors.
The junior duo of Abigail Bozarth and Maddie Buddenberg earned Honorable Mention All-SAC accolades last season, while incoming freshman Olivia Evans garnered abundant honors during her prep career. Allyson Malone, a transfer from Limestone, is a two-time All-Conference Carolinas honoree who will be looking to make an immediate impact in her debut for the Black and Gold.
On the men's side, sophomore Luke Horne is the lone returner who competed in last year's 8k, finishing 11th among D-II runners in a time of 27:49.58.
The Trojan men's squad, tabbed ninth in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Preseason Southeast Region Poll, is youth-oriented, with three-time All-Conference honoree Mason Hazel returning as the lone senior and just one of three letterwinners.
Hazel has earned All-Conference honors in each of his three previous seasons and will be counted on to lead a roster that includes 11 freshmen, with Horne looking to build on a freshmen campaign that saw the native of Greenville, S.C., bring home SAC All-Freshman Team honors.