15-Time Defending Champion Mars Hill Tops SAC Men’s Cross Country Preseason Poll

ROCK HILL – Mars Hill, which has won 15-straight Food Lion SAC Men's Cross Country Championships, has been voted as the 2012 preseason favorite by the league's coaches, it was announced on Thursday.

The Lions edged Anderson, the 2012 preseason poll's second-ranked team, by just two points at last season's SAC Championship. MHC also had three runners – led by senior Eric Blackburn -- named to the 2012 preseason All-SAC Team, which is based on results from last year's conference championship.

Anderson had three student-athletes named to the preseason All-SAC Team as well, including first-teamers Parks Edwards and Alex Pena. Both finished in the top 10 at the 2011 SAC Championship.

Wingate finished third at last year's SAC Championship and was voted third in the 2012 preseason poll. Two Bulldogs earned spots on the preseason All-Conference Team, including junior Steve Hammond, who had the fifth-best time at the 2011 SAC Championship.

WU was followed in the poll by No. 4 Lenoir-Rhyne, No. 5 Brevard and No. 6 Lincoln Memorial. Lenoir-Rhyne's two preseason All-SAC picks included 2011 SAC Championship third-place finisher Mike York, while Brevard was represented on the team by junior Josh Mower, who finished 11th at the event.

Rounding out the poll was Newberry at No. 7, Catawba at No. 8, Carson-Newman at No. 9 and Tusculum at No. 10.

Catawba senior Christian Crifasi -- the individual runner up at the 2011 SAC Championship -- is a preseason All-SAC First Team pick, while Tusculum sophomore David Cooper, who placed 21st, is on the Second Team.

 

[Complete preseason All-SAC Team]

 

Team Points (1st-place votes)
1. Mars Hill 77 (5)
2. Anderson 76 (4)
3. Wingate 62 (1)
4. Lenoir-Rhyne 58
5. Brevard 49
6. Lincoln Memorial 39
7. Newberry 29
8. Catawba 28
9. Carson-Newman 21
10. Tusculum 11