INDIANAPOLIS – The Hanover women's cross country team has been picked to finish in the top five this fall at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship after the league's 10 head coaches conducted their annual preseason poll Tuesday (Aug. 28) afternoon.
The Panthers received 55 points, tying Franklin for the fifth spot in the poll. The fifth-place prediction snaps an eight-year streak of top-three preseason rankings for Hanover.
Manchester, who has won two of the past three conference championships, is the favorite again this fall, as they accumulated 90 points and a poll-high four first place votes. The defending champion, Rose-Hulman, captured two first place votes and 85 total points for a second-place position. Both Bluffton and Earlham reached at least 80 points in the preseason prognosis, 81 and 80 points respectively, combining for the final four first place votes. After the tie between Franklin and Hanover at No. 5, Anderson (39), Transylvania (31), Mount St. Joseph (18) and Defiance (16) rounded out the remainder of the preseason standings.
With no seniors on the 2017 roster, the Harriers posted a sixth-place finish at the conference meet, its first finish outside the top three in eight years. Hanover will look to return to its previous success in Year Two of the Brady Wells ('83) era. The Panthers, who have won five HCAC championships, have posted a top three finish in every season except one since 2010, a span that includes back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014, a trio of second place finishes and two third place marks.
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.
Additional information on this year's squad can be found on the "Season Preview" link above.
The Panthers are set to open the New Year with their home invitational, beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 1.
Contact: Tyler Jester