BC XC to race in SAC Championship this weekend

Brevard, N.C. - The 2010 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference men’s and women’s cross country championship takes place Saturday at Wingate University in Wingate, N.C.

The men’s championship race will start at 10 a.m. with the women’s championship race starting at 10:15 a.m.

Freshmen Jordan Tager (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) and Angela Canale (Medford, NJ) look to lead the Tornados into the 2010 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference cross country championship races. Tager has been Brevard’s top-finisher in all but one race this season for the men. Tager’s best finish was 11th place finish back on October 9th at Furman University. Canale has been the Tornados leader all season on the women’s side as well. She has placed in the top five in three of the team’s five races this season. Her best came back on September 25th when BC competed in the Bulldog Stampede at Wingate University. Canale placed second in the race.

The Mars Hill College men are the defending champions and are ranked fifth in the Southeast Region by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Lions have won the conference championship for 13 consecutive years.

Justin Gragg has been the top runner this season for the Lions. Gragg was named the SAC’s Runner of the Week twice this season, including following his ninth-place finish at the Royal Cross Country Challenge, when he posted the second-best 8K time in conference history. Gragg finished third overall at last year’s championship. Trey McCain, who finished fourth overall last year, also returns, as do All-Conference runners Aaron Thomas and Eric Blackburn.

Lenoir-Rhyne University is ranked ninth in the Southeast Region. The Bears are led by Tyler Mooney, who finished fifth in last year’s race, and Jakob Maidens, a two-time All-Conference runner and the 2008 Freshman Runner of the Year. Aaron Nelson has been one of the top freshman runners in the league this season.

Simon Holzapfel from Tusculum College returns to defend his Runner of the Year title. Holzapfel has been the SAC Runner of the Week four times this year and has won all five meets he has competed in this season.

Other top returning men’s runners include Catawba’s Christian Crifasi, who was the 2009 Freshman of the Year after his sixth-place finish; Wingate’s Steve Hammond, who won last week’s Pre-SAC Invitational on the Wingate course; Carson-Newman’s Jonathan Madden; Lincoln Memorial’s Derrick Lindsay; Newberry’s Brad House and Anderson’s Nigel Reynolds.

The Lenoir-Rhyne University women are the two-time defending champions and are led by junior Kate Griewisch, the defending SAC and Southeast Region runner of the year. This season, Griewisch has been the SAC Runner of the Week four times. She won the L-R Invitational and was the top Division II finisher in several other races. Lenoir-Rhyne is ranked seventh in the most recent USTFCCCA region rankings. Tiffany Payne, who finished fifth in the SAC championship last year, and Amanda Barnes have also had some high finishes for the Bears this season.

Anderson University is ranked fifth in the region. The first-year conference member Trojans will be shooting for their first SAC championship. Anderson’s Whitney Bishoff won the Conference Carolinas meet last year and finished second in the region meet, seven seconds behind Lenoir-Rhyne’s Griewisch.

Carson-Newman finished second in last year’s meet and returns the 2009 Freshman of the Year Meredith Nix, who finished third overall last year, as well as All-Conference performer Brooke Earhart. Freshman Ashley Matthews has been one of Carson-Newman’s top runners this year.

Other top runners expected to compete for All-Conference haonors in the women’s championship race include Lincoln Memorial’s Fiona Reinecke, Catawba College freshman Olivia Myers; Mars Hill freshman Heidi Hooker; Wingate freshman Keeley Wood and Tusculum freshman Ariana Sigmon.

The 2010 Food Lion SAC Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships will determine the 2010 All-Conference and All-Freshman Teams.

There is no admission charge for the Food SAC Cross Country Championship.

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