HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - William Carey University men's cross country team was voted preseason favorite to win the Southern States Athletic Conference championship.
The Crusaders, who lost the 2016 crown on a tie-breaking procedure after Carey and Bethel (Tenn.) University finished first, received six of seven first-place votes. Bethel received the other.
Carey returns 2016 individual titlist, senior Geoffrey Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya), as well as 2016 top 15 finishers Antony Kimaiyo (Eldoret, Kenya) and Tyler Warren (New Albany).
Carey finished with 48 points, followed by Bethel (41), Blue Mountain College (32), University of Mobile (Ala.) (30), Loyola (New Orleans) University (25), Brewton-Parker (Vernon, Ga.) College (12) and Martin (Pulaski, Tenn.) Methodist College (11).
"As a program, we are excited about being chosen as the top seed going into the 2017 cross country season," Carey coach Blake Hegstrom said. "However, as a coach, I expect our men to work hard and compete, week in, week out.
"The SSAC is a strong conference with great coaches and teams that will all be ready to compete."
The Crusaders open the season on Sept. 2 in Memphis, Tenn., in the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic.