ROCK HILL, S.C. – The Anderson University men's cross country team has been tabbed to finish third in the 2018 SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, as released by the league office Wednesday morning.
With the exception of Catawba and Carson-Newman switching in the seventh and eighth spots, the coaches' poll mirrored the results from the 2017 SAC Championships.
Queens, which has won two of the last three SAC Championships, is the coaches' choice to defend its title, while Wingate was tabbed to finish second. The Royals, who finished sixth at the NCAA National Championship last season, have four All-SAC performers returning for 2018, including the Freshman of the Year Nick Kipkemei. The Bulldogs finished as the runner-up at the 2017 SAC Championship. Returning in 2018 are two all-conference runners for the 'Dogs, including first team All-SAC performer Micah Kipchumba.
Lincoln Memorial is No. 4 in the voting with 75 points to their credit, as Lenoir-Rhyne garnered the No. 5 spot with 74 points. Mars Hill, which has claimed 19 of the last 21 conference championships, including 18 straight during a dominating span from 1997 through 2014, was placed in the No. 6 spot courtesy of 62 points.
Catawba and Carson-Newman collected 57 and 50 points, respectively, on their way to seventh and eighth in the poll. Tusculum was picked ninth after gathering 41 points, while Coker and Newberry rounded out the poll in the No. 10 and No. 11 spots, respectively. Coker earned 28 points and Newberry picked up 20.
Overall, 13 of the top-21 runners from the 2017 SAC Championship return for the 2018 season.
Second-year AU head coach Kevin Eagle's roster features nine returning letterwinners with five true freshmen, eight sophomores just one junior and no seniors listed on the squad.
Anderson is set to get the season underway, Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Furman Cross Country Classic.
2018 SAC Preseason Men's Cross Country Coaches' Poll
Rank School Total
1. Queens (10) 110
2. Wingate (1) 98
3. Anderson 91
4. Lincoln Memorial75
5. Lenoir-Rhyne 74
6. Mars Hill 62
7. Catawba 57
8. Carson-Newman 50
9. Tusculum 41
10. Coker 28
11. Newberry 20