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GREENWOOD, IN – The HCAC men’s and women’s cross country championships will take place Saturday, October 29 at Mounds State Park in Anderson, Indiana. The first race, which begins at noon, will mark the eighth time that Anderson University has held a conference meet at Mounds. The first championship event occurred in 1983 and the most recent was in 2001.
Manchester will be looking to claim the school’s third straight men’s and women’s conference championship at the event. Anderson and Franklin look to challenge the Spartans on the men’s side this weekend, while Hanover Franklin and Anderson look to challenge in the women’s race.
The Spartans have been led by Alec Womboldt (DeWitt, Mich.) this season. Womboldt has led the black and gold at every meet this season, highlighted by a third place finish at the Manchester Invitational with a time of 26:28.6.
The black and gold have fared well against conference competition this season. Manchester had been the highest placing HCAC school at each meet they have competed in, including a fourth place finish at the Indiana Intercollegiate. MC currently stands fourth in the Great Lakes Region in a poll released by USTFCCCA.
Anderson University will look to reclaim the top spot as conference champs this weekend on its home course. The Ravens have been led by Kirk Saunders (Bloomington, Ill.) this season. The junior has led AU in each meet, posting a season-best performance at the Wilmington Fall Classic with a fifth place finish among 298 runners (25:24.2). Saunders also earned a first place finish at the Earlham Invitational (26:27), guiding the Ravens to a second place finish in the team standings.
Franklin’s Kristopher Sandlin (Scottsburg, Ind.) has been running well this season for the Grizzlies as the blue and gold look to claim their first title since 2008. The sophomore finished first overall at Wisconsin-Parkside with a time of 26:26 and followed that performance with an 18th place finish at the Wilmington Fall Classic (25:53.14).
The Manchester women have been impressive this fall and enter Saturday’s championship as the favorite to repeat. The Spartans fared well against conference competition this fall, leading the conference field at the Indiana Intercollegiate meet. The black and gold earned team titles at the Manchester Hokum Karem, while finishing third at the Manchester Invitational.
Manchester has been paced this fall by junior Karla Madrigal (Elkhart, Ind.). Madrigal was the top Manchester finisher at every meet this fall, highlighted by a seventh place finish among 152 runners at the Otterbein Invitational (23:26.5).
Franklin’s Hillary Cain (Rushville, Ind.) has been dominant this fall, earning the conference’s Runner of the Week award three times. Cain, a freshman for the blue and gold, earned her first collegiate individual title at the Hanover Invitational with a time of 19:56. She also posted top ten finishes at the Franklin Invitational (3rd, 19:26), Louisville Classic (6th, 19:07), Wisconsin-Parkside (3rd, 19:30), and Wilmington Invitational (10th, 19:00).
Hanover’s Rachel Moreland (Lawton, Mich.) and Sara Lucas (Avon Ind.) have paced the Panthers this fall and will look to crack All-HCAC status once again this weekend. Moreland earned an impressive 24th place finish at Wilmington with a season-best time of 19:30.47. Lucas was the top Panther finisher in two meets this fall, including the Disney Classic in Florida (41st, 19:58).
Anderson University will also strive to dethrone the two-time champion Spartans this weekend. The Ravens earned a pair of team titles this season, earning first place finishes at both the Anderson and Earlham Invitational.
The top 12 finishers on the men’s and women’s side will be named All-HCAC, while the top freshman finisher will be named Freshman of the Year. Individuals who finish 13th through 20th at the conference meet will be named Honorable Mention All-HCAC.
The women will compete on a 6K course Saturday while the men will run the 8K course. Action will get underway from Mounds State Park at 12 PM.