MORRISTOWN, Tenn. - For an unprecedented 15th-consecutive season, Mars Hill has captured the Food Lion SAC Men's Cross Country Championship. The Lions won the 2011 title behind three top-10 individual performances, edging runner-up Anderson by just two points.
Mars Hill was led by individual champion and SAC Runner of the Year Justin Gragg, whose time of 26:31.2 was more than 10 seconds faster than Catawba's Christian Crifasi, who finished second.
MHC also got a first-team All-Conference performance from junior Eric Blackburn, the No. 5 individual finisher on Saturday.
Anderson's second-place team finish was speared by sophomore Parks Edwards, who turned in the race's fourth-best individual time. AU was followed in the team standings by Wingate, led by Steve Hammond's first-team All-Conference time of 27:06.2.
Lenoir-Rhyne placed fourth as a team behind Mike York, whose No. 3 individual finish earned him Freshman of the Year honors. York was the only freshman to finish among the Championship's top 15 individual times.
Brevard was fifth in the team results, followed by Lincoln Memorial, Newberry and Catawba.
Carson-Newman at No. 9 and Tusculum at No. 10 rounded out the team standings.
Completing the SAC All-Conference first team - which recognizes the Championships' top-seven individual runners - was LMU's Derrick Lindsay, who placed sixth.
Saturday's awards ceremony also included the presentation of the 2011 SAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, which went to Mars Hill's Kit Powell.
The Lions took home SAC Coach of the Year hardware as well, as head coach Mike Owens was recognized following his team's conference title.
1. Mars Hill, 46
2. Anderson, 48
3. Wingate, 98
4. Lenoir-Rhyne, 101
5. Brevard, 142
6. Lincoln Memorial, 176
7. Newberry, 197
8. Catawba, 204
9. Carson-Newman, 230
10. Tusculum, 249
SAC Runner of the Year: Justin Gragg, Mars Hill
SAC Freshman of the Year: Mike York, Lenoir-Rhyne
SAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Kit Powell, Mars Hill
SAC Coach of the Year: Mike Owens, Mars Hill
All-Conference First Team
Justin Gragg, Mars Hill
Christian Crifasi, Catawba
Mike York, Lenoir-Rhyne
Parks Edwards, Anderson
Eric Blackburn, Mars Hill
Derrick Lindsay, Lincoln Memorial
Steve Hammond, Wingate
All-Conference Second Team
Alex Pena, Anderson
Deniz Hay, Anderson
Christopher Powell, Mars Hill
Josh Mower, Brevard
Kyle Koby, Anderson
Biniam Ateka Belachew, Wingate
Josh Greenfield-Tuttle, Mars Hill
Mike York, Lenoir-Rhyne
Maurice Riden, Mars Hill
Bart Merkel, Brevard
Justin Golay, Newberry
David Cooper, Tusculum