SSU men’s XC picked to win MSC

PORTSMOUTH — The men’s cross country team at Shawnee State University was selected to collect the 2021 Mid-South Conference championship via the MSC Preseason Poll, according to a release put out by conference officials on Thursday.

In capturing the top spot in the 2021 MSC Preseason Poll, SSU claimed 121 points and 11 out of the 12 first-place votes.

Campbellsville, which notched 108 points, collected the other first-place vote in the rankings.

Behind the lead duo, Lindsey Wilson (96 points), Cumberland, Tenn. (91 points) and Cumberlands, Ky. (74 points) rounded out the top five — while Georgetown (Ky.)’s 73 points allowed the Tigers to collect sixth in the rankings.

Freed-Hardeman and Pikeville tied for seventh place with 56 points apiece, while Bethel (Tenn.)’s 41 points, Tennessee-Southern’s 39 tallies, Pikeville (Ky.)’s 20 notches and Life (Ga.)’s 17 points rounded out the poll.

The men’s cross country team, which has won MSC Championships in 10 out of its last 11 seasons, is loaded for bear again — having only lost one runner out of its top eight.

With that fact in mind, the 2021 version of the Bears could very well be one of the most talented teams in program history — and with three all-time finishes seventh or higher at nationals, that’s really saying something.

The competition among the top-10 runners inside the men’s program is as good as it’s ever been — with defending MSC Runner of the Year Hunter Hoover, fellow NAIA All-American Jonah Phillips, and first-team all-MSC honorees Aiden Kammler and Hunter Bennington all back.

Along with those four individuals, second-team all-MSC runners Thyrecton Deckard, Aidan Judd and Jacob Nichols also return.

Additional team members include Alex Morris, Mason Blizzard, Logan Boggs, Philip Evory, Eric Hacker, Ethan LaFon, Brice Leveck and Zach Sharrock — with a talented incoming quartet of freshmen (Landen Smith, Malachi Shugert, Kooper Keen and Matthew Rauch) rounding out the roster.

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