Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - The Hanover men's cross country team will look to continue its positive momentum with a trip to Powell, Ohio to compete in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Championships Saturday, November 11.
In their last action at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships, the Panthers finished second out of ten teams. This tied the program-best finish, which has only happened three times (1993, 2000, 2004) in HCAC history. Additionally, the Blue and Red had three runners in the top five, a first in program history
Sophomore Hayden Veach (Shelbyville, Ind.) finished second overall with a time of 26:07.42, while junior Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.) followed less than a second behind at 26:07.96. Senior Joe Rector (Aurora, Ind.) rounded out the top five with a time of 26:16.96. Their times also earned all three men HCAC All-Conference honors.
With that finish, the Blue and Red exceeded the expectations of the coaches preseason poll for the first time in three seasons and just the third time in the past eight. The poll pegged Rose-Hulman and Manchester to finish ahead of the Panthers. Instead, they claimed second while Manchester placed fourth.
In last year's NCAA Division III Regional meet at Hope College (Mich.), Hanover placed 18th out of 36 teams and third amongst HCAC schools, which is the best since 1998 when they finished 16th. The 1993 team recorded the best finish in program history with a 10th place finish in the regional meet.
Hayden Veach led the Blue and Red with a time of 26:20.1 in last year's regional meet. Hedrick was the second Panther to cross at 26:31.6 while, Rector finished just behind at 26:33.6. The overall winner Dan Cheung completed the race in 24:44.4. However, three of the top four runners from last season, including Cheung, have graduated, putting the top spots up for grabs.
In the 2015 meet, Joe Rector placed 28th with a time of 26:01.6 making him Hanover's first all-region runner since 2000, when former standout Troy Davis finished 30th.
Since 2005, only Calvin and Wabash have won on the men's side. The Calvin Knights claimed eight straight titles from 2005 to 2012. In 2013, the Wabash Little Giants claimed the title and kept it until 2016, when Calvin re-claimed it.
This year's meet will be run at Liberty Park at noon and will be hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University. The course consists of two loops and is mostly flat with rolling hills, except for one short steep hill at the 1,000-meter mark.
Contact: Tyler Jester