MONTGOMERY, AL (dsroadruners.com) -– The Southern States Athletic Conference announced Monday that the Dalton State men’s cross country team are favored in the preseason poll.
The Roadrunners accumulated 61 points and five first place votes to edge-out 2014 SSAC Champions William Carey. Dalton State (37) finished three points behind (34) in the 2014 conference championship in Clinton, MS. The average DS men’s time was 26:10.78 to Carey’s 26:07.14.
“It's a great honor to be named preseason number one,” said Coach Andy Meyer. “I appreciate the respect given by our fellow conference coaches. It also is a testament to the support our program receives from Athletic Director Derek Waugh, our support staff, the Dalton State administration and of course the Dalton Community.”
“We had a great season last year and were ranked number one throughout most of the season until the conference championship,” added Meyer. “We came up a little short of expectations. William Carey has a great tradition and their runners rise to the occasion. Bethel and Loyola have young talent and are up and coming programs. We have a very good conference that is highly competitive and balanced with great coaches. I believe our men have learned a lesson and hope we can close the season as is anticipated by our SSAC coaches.”
William Carey returns just one member of its scoring five from last year's conference championship team—Geoffrey Kipchumba.
Kipchumba was arguably the most decorated runner in the SSAC during the 2014 campaign, claiming the individual title at the SSAC Men's Cross Country Championship and SSAC Runner of the Year honors as a freshman. He was also noted as the SSAC Freshman of the Year and was the lone SSAC runner to earn NAIA All-America honors with a 10th-place finish at the NAIA Men's Cross Country National Championship.
Returners Ryan Archie (211th) and William Kelly (314th) also crossed the finish line in Lawrence, Kan., for the Crusaders, the lone SSAC team to compete at the 2014 NAIA Men's Cross Country National Championship.
Competing as individuals, Dalton State returners Paul Patterson (195th) and Brody Cook (240th) placed among the top 250 at the national championship, while 2014 SSAC Newcomer of the Year Spencer Head was unable to finish due to injury.
Bethel (Tenn.), which returns national championship individual qualifier Carlos Gonzalez, was picked to finish third in the conference with 49 point
Dalton State will host an All-SSAC Field on Friday, September 4th in the Dalton State Twilight Cross Country Classic historic Prater’s Mill in Varnell, Ga. The women will begin at 5 p.m. and the men will follow at 6:00 p.m.
Men's Cross Country
1. Dalton State 61 (5 First-Place Votes)
2. William Carey 55 (3 First-Place Votes)
3. Bethel 49
4. Loyola 38
5. Blue Mountain 34
6. Mobile 26
7. Auburn Montgomery 17
8. Brewton-Parker 8