INDIANAPOLIS – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference released its 2018 men's cross country preseason poll Tuesday (Aug. 28) afternoon, as the league's head coaches have predicted another top three finish for Hanover this fall.
The Panthers are picking up their fourth consecutive third place ranking in the conference's preseason poll, accumulating 80 points in the 2018 edition. Rose-Hulman is the unanimous favorite after picking up 100 points and all 10 first place votes. Just ahead of Hanover was Earlham with 82 points.
Rounding out the top five was Manchester and Bluffton with 67 and 64 points, respectively. Franklin (51), Anderson (44), Transylvania (26), Mount St. Joseph (21) and Defiance (15) fill in the bottom half of the preseason coaches' poll.
The Harriers finished in their predicted third place position in 2015 and 2016, before jumping up to No. 2 at last season's HCAC Championships. The 2017 performance tied a program-best finish at the HCAC-hosted meet, as the squad also picked up second place marks in 2000 and 2004, as well as 1993 when the league was known as the Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference. Hanover will be in search of its fifth straight top three finish at the conference meet this fall, while also looking for its first conference championship since 1977.
Hanover will be under the leadership of Brady Wells ('83), who is entering his second season at the helm of his alma mater. Wells, a former cross country and track & field captain, served one year as an assistant coach for Hanover prior to taking over the men's and women's programs last season.
The Panthers will have the luxury of returning a pair of all-conference runners this fall in senior Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.) and junior Hayden Veach (Shelbyville, Ind.). Additional information on this year's squad can be found on the "Season Preview" link above.
This year's conference championship meet will be hosted by Mount St. Joseph. The 10 teams are slated to meet in Shelbyville, Ind., at Blue River Memorial Park, Saturday, Oct. 27. The conference championship site will also be the host of the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Championships two weeks later.
Hanover is set to open the New Year with its home invitational, beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 1.
Contact: Tyler Jester