ANDERSON, S.C. – After posting its highest finish since 2011 at the South Atlantic Conference Championships two weeks ago, the Anderson men's cross country team is set for a return to the Peach State on Saturday for the NCAA Southeast Region Championships, which will be hosted by North Georgia on the Nighthawk's Gainesville campus in Oakwood, Ga.
With the top three teams earning a berth, the Trojans narrowly missed out on earning the program's first-ever appearance in last year's NCAA National Championships with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Southeast Regional, which was hosted by Wingate.
The championships start at 9 a.m. with the men's 10k race and will be followed at 10:15 a.m. by the women's 6k. The course was also the site of the Sixth Annual North Georgia Invitational in late September and was home to the 2015 Peach Belt Conference Championships.
The top three teams from the regional meet will automatically advance to the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships, which will be held in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Saturday, Dec. 1. The top five individuals who are not part of a qualifying team will also automatically advance to the championship and the next eight individuals will be selected at-large.
The Trojans, who were ranked seventh in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) DII Regional Rankings, will contend with regionally top-ranked and nationally No. 6 Queens, which claimed the South Atlantic Conference championship, along with nationally eighth-ranked Mount Olive, which is tabbed second in the region.
Three Trojan runners finished in the top 11 spots at the SAC Championships, with AU taking second place overall. The Trojans' Logan Horning captured Freshman of the Year honors with a ninth-place finish.
Sophomore Ben Clark was just behind in 10th place and garnered Second-Team All-SAC honors for the second straight year. Sophomore Weston Hutto also collected Second-Team All-Conference accolades after finishing in 11th place. The Lexington, S.C., native garnered Honorable Mention honors last year.
Freshman Thomas Sutcliffe and sophomore Phillip Quillen finished 26th and 31st, respectively. Sophomore Joey Teachout crossed the finish line in 35th place, with freshman Noah McLain claiming 38th place. Sophomore Matthew Burgess was just off his personal-best time and finished 39th.
Freshman Derek Hildebrand and junior Luke Horne rounded out the Trojan effort in 44th and 66th place, respectively.
Mount Olive is the two-time defending region champion, while Queens claimed second place a year ago. Augusta took home third place, just in front of the Trojans.