ANDERSON, S.C. – The 26th running of the South Atlantic Conference Cross Country Championships are set for Saturday and the Anderson men's cross country team will join the rest of the league's top runners in Spartanburg, S.C.
AU will serve as the host institution for the meet's third overall visit to the Palmetto State and first since 2016, which was held in Columbia, with the Mars Hill men emerging victorious for the 19th time in league history.
This year's version will take place at the Milliken Research Center, which also hosted the 2017 Southern Conference Championships, the 2010 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Championships and the 2010 Atlantic Sun Conference Championships. USC Upstate traditionally hosts a pair of meets there each season and it has also been the site of numerous South Carolina High School League races.
The men's race will cover eight kilometers and begin at 9 a.m.
Queens looking for its second straight conference title and third championship in four years, with Mars Hill taking home the 2016 title.
After Elon captured three of the first four SAC Championships (1993, 1994, 1996), Mars Hill dominated the event, winning 18 championships in a row from 1997-2014 and placing 124 runners on all-conference teams throughout the years. Queens upended the Lions for the title in 2015, but Mars Hill returned to the top spot in 2016, while the Royals reclaimed the title a year ago.
Queens is at the top of the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Southeast Region Poll and is ranked seventh nationally, while the Trojans were tabbed fifth in the latest regional poll. Lenoir-Rhyne was at No. 8 for the second consecutive week, with Wingate ranked ninth.
AU captured first place at the season-opening Warrior Invitational in mid-September, with freshman Logan Horning taking home individual honors in his collegiate debut. The Daytona Beach, Fla., native also paced the Black and Gold at the North Georgia Invitational and at the Royals Challenge. Sophomore Ben Clark led the Trojans two weeks ago at the Rock Pre-National meet in Pittsburgh, Pa.
With four runners posting career-best times, the Trojans finished third at last year's South Atlantic Conference Championships. Last year's finish was extremely close, with less than a second marking the difference between first place and eighth place. Ben Clark earned Second-Team All-SAC and All-Freshman Team accolades after claiming 11th place, with Weston Hutto finishing in the 20th spot and earning Honorable Mention All-SAC honors.
Cameron Owens-Hunter narrowly missed earning honorable mention accolades after finishing 22nd, while Luke Horne took home 38th place. Joey Teachout finished 43rd and classmate Phillip Quillen was 53rd. David Rolon rounded out the Trojan contingent in 78th place.
The Trojans have finished third at the SAC Championships on five occasions since joining the league in 2010, including the last three, while capturing second place in 2011.
Parking and admission to the SAC Cross Country Championships are free.