HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's cross country team will open the season in eight days, and in preparation we have released our annual season preview.
Hanover is coming off one of its best seasons in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, as the squad placed second at the league meet for the first time since 2004. The second-place finish continues what has been a recent stretch of strong efforts for the Panthers, who have placed inside the top three at the HCAC Championships in each of the last four seasons.
Despite the loss of academic all-American Joe Rector, the Harriers will have the luxury of returning senior Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.) and junior Hayden Veach (Shelbyville, Ind.) to lead the way. Both Hedrick and Veach earned all-conference accolades last fall, while Hedrick was also named a scholar all-American by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
As a junior, Hedrick posted five top 10 finishes in six races, with his lone finish outside the top 10 coming at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional, where his 27th place marking was still good enough to earn him all-region honors. Hedrick won two races last fall, the Hanover Invitational and the Greater Louisville Classic, with the latter giving him a new personal best eight-kilometer time of 25:39.5.
Veach paced the Panthers at the 2017 HCAC Championships, placing second overall with a career best mark of 26:07.5. His sophomore campaign also saw him place fourth at the home meet, while garnering all-invitational honors at the Greater Louisville Classic and the Wilmington (Ohio) Jenna Strong Fall Classic as well.
Additional returners looking to add depth to the squad are sophomores Andy Vilardo (Bloomington, Ind.) and Andrew Clegg (Indianapolis, Ind.), as well as senior Matt Young (Carmel, Ind.). Vilardo appeared in five events last season, posting a quartet of sub 30-minute times, including a season-best 27:46.0 at the Greater Louisville Classic. Young logged four events in 2017 and has a career best 8K time of 29:46.4.
The Panthers will have four newcomers on the 2018 roster as well, who will all look to make an immediate impact. To view the complete roster, visit the link above.
The Blue and Red will open the season for the second consecutive year with their own Hanover Invitational. Competition is slated to start at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 1.
Contact: Tyler Jester