GREENVILLE, S.C.-- The Furman men's and women's cross country teams will defend their league championships Friday at the 2014 Southern Conference Championship Meet at Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex in Kernersville, N.C.
The meet will mark the 85th Annual Southern Conference Cross Country Championship for the men and the 30th for the women. Admission is free to the public.
The championships will begin with the women's 5K run at 10 a.m., followed by the men's 8K event at 10:45 a.m. The top men's and women's teams will be honored as the 2014 conference champions, while the top seven individuals in each race will be named first team all-conference. Individual finishers placing 8th through 14th in each race will comprise the all-conference second team, and the top seven freshmen in each race will comprise the league's all-freshman team.
"Our whole program is very excited for championship season to begin," said Furman head coach Robert Gary, the 2013 SoCon Coach of the Year for both the men's and women's programs. "We feel we have a great shot at defending our SoCon titles on both the men's and women's sides. This is the last SoCon Championship meet for our seniors, Tripp Hurt, William Ivey, and Sinead Haughey, so the entire team is prepared to help them finish as team champions."
The Furman men's team, currently ranked 21st nationally and second in the Southeast Region, was led by Hurt in the 8K race last season. He placed fourth with a time of 25:01.56, earning a spot on the All-SoCon first team for the second-consecutive season. Sophomore Troy Reeder, who was honored as the 2013 SoCon Men's Cross Country Freshman of the Year, joined Hurt on the All-SoCon first team after finishing seventh with a time of 25:16.45 at the 2013 championships.
Then-rookies Tanner Hinkle and Brock Baker earned All-SoCon second team accolades last season after Hinkle recorded a ninth-place finish (25:30.26) and Baker posted a 12th-place finish (25:37.58). The Paladins claimed five out of the seven spots on the All-SoCon Freshman Team, as Reeder, Hinkle, and Baker were joined on the team by Nate Riech and Connor Sorrells.
The Paladin women's team, which is ranked ninth in the Southeast Region, was led by sophomore Allie Buchalski last season at the league meet. Buchalski posted a time of 17:32.43 to finish second overall and earn the 2013 SoCon Women's Cross Country Freshman of the Year Award. She was joined on the All-SoCon first team by sophomore Grace Tinkey, who placed third with a time of 17:33.76. Haughey, who finished eighth last season with a time of 18:09.44, claimed a spot on the all-conference second team for the second time in her career.
For complete results and photos from the 2014 championship, log onto www.soconsports.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information