HANOVER, Ind. – With a third place finish in each of the last two years, new head coach Brady Wells and the Hanover men's cross country team will look to move into the top two in 2017.
Wells, a 1983 Hanover graduate, takes over the program this fall after serving as an assistant coach last year. While he will have a young team to work with, including seven runners combined in the freshmen and sophomore classes, he will have the team's top three runners back.
"All three of them should be able to compete at the top of the HCAC", Wells said.
Joe Rector (Aurora, Ind.) returns as the Panthers' lone senior in 2017. Rector, a two-time all-HCAC selection, was off to a great start last year before injury and illness interrupted his junior year. He began last season by leading Hanover to its first invitational win since 1998 with a first place finish in the Sodexo Grizzly Invitational. One week later he was second at the Panthers' annual home meet, and then was the first Hanover runner across the finish line at the Indiana Intercollegiate Championships.
Rector then missed the next three meets before returning for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional at less than 100 percent. Through three seasons, he has earned eight top 30 finishes, and will be counted upon to lead the way in his final season.
Junior Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.) was consistently one of the team's top runners as a sophomore. Hedrick earned his first all-conference recognition after a third place finish at the conference championship meet and led the team in three meets on the year. In addition to his finish at the league meet, Hedrick was second at the Sodexo Grizzly Invitational and third at the Hanover Invitational.
Following an impressive freshman season, sophomore Hayden Veach (Shelbyville, Ind.) returns for his second year. Veach finished among the top three runners for the Panthers in all seven meets, and was an honorable mention all-conference performer after a 10th place finish at the HCAC meet. Veach then led Hanover at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet in the team's final race of the season.
In addition to these three, Wells will look to a junior, two sophomores and four freshmen to provide solid depth.
"If we remain healthy, we feel we can compete with the top two or three teams in our conference", Wells finished.
Contact: Mike Pritchard