NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Preseason favorite and runner-up status greeted the Manchester University women's and men's cross-country teams with the release of the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Athletic preseason coaches' poll, released Wednesday, Aug. 23.
"It's a great situation recognizing the history (of each program)," Coach Geoff Lambert said. "We're thrilled to have this recognition. However, we are focused on controlling the things we can control … trying to become the best team we can become on a day-to-day basis. If we do this, it will be a successful season."
MU's two-time defending women's team, featuring sophomore Runners to Watch Hannah Wappes (Columbia City, Ind.) and Emily Ewen (Wolcott, Ind.), registered 98 points and eight first place votes. They were 15 points and six first-place votes clear of projected runner-up Bluffton University. The Black and Gold men's team earned 85 points and one first-place vote, trailing only preseason pick Rose-Hulman (98 points/eight first-place votes). Senior Blake Harris (Fort Wayne, Ind.) was the squad's designee on the Runners to Watch section.
The Spartans, hosts of the 2017 conference championships Oct. 28, open their season at home Friday, Sept. 1, hosting the annual Hokum Karem.