Veach leads men's cross country team to second place finish at HCAC Championships

Hayden Veach running

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - With three of the top five individual finishers, the Hanover men's cross country team finished second at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships Saturday morning.

The Panthers scored 75 team points to finish behind only Rose-Hulman, which won the meet with 52 total points. The Fightin' Engineers, which were picked to finish first in the preseason coaches' poll, tied for first in last year's meet but lost the tiebreaker to Manchester.

This year's finish is tied for the best finish in the conference meet in HCAC history, and marks the fourth time Hanover has finished as the runner up. The Panthers also placed second in 1993, 2000, and 2004. 

Sophomore Hayden Veach (Shelbyville, Ind.) ran to a second place finish to become the highest finisher ever by a Hanover runner in HCAC history. Veach's time of 26:07.96 was also a new personal best as the sophomore bettered his previous best time by just under seven seconds (26:14.8). 

Junior Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.) and senior Joe Rector (Aurora, Ind.) gave the Panthers three top five finishers for the first time in meet history. Hedrick finished only 0.54 of a second behind Veach with a time of 26:07.96 to place third for the second straight year. Rector recorded his third top 10 finish of his career at the HCAC meet with a time of 26:16.96, which was good for fifth place overall. 

Sophomore Hananiah Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.) and freshman Andy Vilardo (Bloomington, Ind.) rounded out the top five for Hanover. Davis placed 33rd out of 93 total competitors with a time of 28:33.34, while Vilardo was 43rd with a time of 29:03.80. 

Manchester senior Blake Harris finished first overall. Harris completed the 8k course in 25:41.08 to give the Spartans their second consecutive individual winner. Harris finished ninth in last year's meet with a time of 27:25.96. 

Hanover will next prepare to compete in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional meet Saturday, Nove. 11. Start time is set for 11 a.m. in Powell, Ohio. 

Contact: Mike Pritchard