COLUMBIA, S.C. – One year after losing the South Atlantic Conference Cross Country crown, the Mars Hill men's cross country team returned to the top of the league following a dominating performance at the Clemson Sandhills Research Trail. The Lions placed five runners in the top-11 on their way to the 19th conference championship in program history.
"Our men ran a wonderful team race. Nathan Jones set a hard pace from the start and the rest of the guys followed suite. They were definitely ready for the challenge today", said Coach Mike Owens.
Senior Nathan Jones was named the 2016 SAC Cross Country Runner of the Year with his first-place finish in the 8k race. His time of 25:54.8 was a blistering 26 seconds faster than second-place, Mason Hazel from Anderson. This was Jones' third first-place finish of the season. With the win it also earned Jones a spot on the All-SAC First Team.
Teammates Brandon Beard, Garrett Farrimond, and Gil Gilreath also found themselves on the All-SAC First Team following finishes of fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively. Noah Allison earned an All-SAC Second Team nod with his 11th place finish. Nick Resor also turned out an impressive performance for the Lions with an 18th place mark, earning All-SAC Honorable Mention.
Head Coach Mike Owens was tabbed the 2016 South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year after leading his team to the pinnacle of the cross country world in the SAC.
As a team, Mars Hill beat preseason favorite, Queens, by a whopping 30 points. Anderson finished third, while Lincoln Memorial and Wingate rounded out the top-five, in that order.