No. 10 | Carson-Newman women's soccer – Eagles become first SAC team to reach NCAA Final Four in women's sport (Nov. 1, 2004)
Led by SAC Player of the Year Rebecca Angus, Carson-Newman reached the national semifinals of the 2004 NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Championship, becoming the first team in SAC history to reach the Final Four of an NCAA women's sport.
The Eagles won the SAC regular-season and tournament championships before defeating Clayton St., Catawba and Lincoln Memorial in the NCAA tournament preliminary rounds to advance to the Final Four.
Despite falling to Adelphi in the national semifinals, Carson-Newman finished the season 19-3-2 overall and had six players earn All-Conference selections. The Eagles went on to reach the Final Four again in 2005.
No. 9 | Wingate women's basketball – Anna Atkinson compiles highly decorated career (2005-09)
From 2005 to 2009, Wingate women's basketball student-athlete Anna Atkinson put together one of the most highly-decorated careers of any athlete in SAC history. She won every major SAC women's basketball award at least once, being named the SAC Freshman of the Year in 2005-06, SAC Player of the Year in 2007-08 and 2008-09, SAC Tournament MVP in 2008 and SAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
On the court, Atkinson's Wingate teams captured regular-season SAC titles in 2005-06 and 2006-07, won the SAC Tournament in 2008 and reached three NCAA Tournaments, including a run to the Elite Eight in 2008. She remains the conference's all-time leader in steals, and ranks second in assists and fourth in free throws made.
Additionally, Atkinson was named the SAC Presidents Award winner in 2007-08 and 2008-09, the SAC Athlete of the Year in 2007-08, and an NCAA Woman of the Year semifinalist in 2009.
No. 8 | Mars Hill men's cross country – Lions win 16-straight SAC Championships (1997-2012)
No program has dominated a SAC sport over the past two decades quite like Mars Hill men's cross country. The Lions have won 16-consecutive SAC Championship team titles, a streak that began in 1997 and remains ongoing.
Over the course of the program's historic run, MHC student-athletes have won seven SAC Runner of the Year Awards, seven SAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards and five SAC Freshman of the Year awards. Lions' head coach Mike Owens has also been named the SAC Coach of the Year in each of the 16 championship seasons.
No. 7 | Catawba baseball – Indians advance to NCAA World Series (May 20, 2012)
Following a second-place finish in the SAC regular-season standings and an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament, Catawba went on a tear in Southeast Regional, winning four elimination games to reach the NCAA World Series for the first time in school history.
After falling to Tusculum in the first round of the regionals, Catawba stayed alive by beating Mount Olive, Armstrong, Tusculum in a rematch and Francis Marion in the regional final to advance to the World Series. The Indians then won two World Series games before being eliminated by eventual national champion West Chester.
Strong defense and a pitching staff led by lefty Nick Lomascolo carried Catawba throughout its World Series run, as the Indians allowed an average of just 2.67 runs in nine postseason games. The team finished the year 45-17 overall.
No. 6 | Lenoir-Rhyne women's cross country – Katie Griewisch finishes fourth at NCAA National Championship (Nov. 19, 2011)
Lenoir-Rhyne student-athlete Kate Griewisch capped her historic cross country career by finishing fourth out of 186 competitors at the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship. She completed the 6K course in a time of 21:26, improving on her previous 18th and 19th-place finishes at the championship.
Griewisch ended her cross country career as a three-time Southeast Region champion, a two-time SAC Runner of the Year and a four-time All-Conference honoree. She was also named the USTFCCCA Southeast Region Athlete of the Year three times and the SAC Women's Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year on three occasions.
Griewisch received both of the SAC's most prestigious individual honors during her time at L-R, earning the SAC Presidents Award in 2010-11 and the SAC Athlete of the Year Award in 2011-12. Upon graduating in 2012, she was selected as a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year.
The final SAC 20 for 20 announcement, unveiling the countdown's top five moments, will be released the week of May 13.