Lions Seeking 16th-Consecutive Conference TitleOctober 19, 2012
MARS HILL, N.C.—The Mars Hill men’s cross country team will look to earn its 16th-consecutive conference title when it competes in the 2012 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Cross Country Championships this Saturday.
Lion men’s cross country teams have earned 15-straight South Atlantic Conference titles. This year’s group is currently ranked third in the Southeast Region by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) Poll. Mars Hill enters Saturday’s race as the top-ranked SAC school in the poll. The SAC Championship race will be held at 9:00 a.m. Saturday in Greeneville, Tenn. The starting and finish lines of the course are located on the southeast corner of the Tusculum campus at the upper practice soccer field.
Mars Hill has placed among the top three schools in four of six events. The Lions won the Bulldog Stampede and finished as the top Division II team in three other races. Mars Hill’s top average team time came at the Royals Pre-Region Cross Country Challenge, where the Lions ran an average time of 26:00.42. The Lions have not finished behind a SAC school in any race this season.
Alex Griggs has been named SAC Runner of the Week three times. The freshman has finished as the top Division II performer in two events, and turned in the top time among NCAA Division II Southeast Region runners at the Louisville Classic.
“It’s been a strong season for our men with three freshman in the top five as well as a number of our younger returning runners making major contributions,” said head coach Mike Owens. “Add in amazing leadership from our senior captains and the men enter the championship portion of our season ready to go. The course this weekend is very challenging, and depth will be a big deciding factor.”
Thirteen different Mars Hill runners have finished among the Lions top five in a race this season. The championship will be the final conference race for seniors Eric Blackburn, Josh Greenfield-Tuttle and Nathan Watson.
Wingate and Lenoir-Rhyne are the only other SAC schools ranked in the Southeast Region by the USTFCCCA Poll. Wingate is ranked sixth, with wins in the Cal Broughton Invitational and the Pre-SAC Invitational. L-R is ranked seventh.
Tusculum has also taken home team championships at the Warren Wilson Invitational and Maryville Invitational.
Student-athletes from all 10 SAC-member institutions will compete in the race.