HIGH POINT, N.C. - King College men’s cross country team made a splash in its first season, as a Conference Carolinas member, fighting their way from fourth to second in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region polls riding into the regional championship. King College was selected as the top team in the 2012 preseason poll followed by Queens and Mount Olive. Pfeiffer University came in tied for 10th in the annual rankings.
The momentum built behind Tornado record setter Spencer Frantom (Morristown, Tenn.) all season long as well as his fifth place finish in Charlotte helped the team to a runner-up finish in their first Conference Carolinas Championship. The Tornado will return its top three runners including juniors Frantom and Taylor Dix, as well as sophomore Jordan Noe.
Frantom currently sits atop the King all-time list after registering a 25:01 finish at the Clemson Open, last season. Noe ran into the number two all-time spot at King with a 25:26 time at the 2011 conference championship, held in Charlotte, N.C. Dickson Kurgat will join the trio this season and is expected to be a major contributor to accomplishing the team’s goals.
Queens University of Charlotte is coming off of a 2011 season where they took their third consecutive conference title at the league championships after having runners finish in the top four spots. Felix Duchampt earned Conference Carolinas Runner of the Year honors, while Chris Enriquez was crowned Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year. Queens then went on to win their fifth straight NCAA Southeast Region title with an average time of 31:53.66. The Royals finished 18th at the NCAA National Championships.
Mount Olive finished 22nd at the NCAA Division II Men’s Cross Country National Championship, but returns only one of four All-Southeast Region performers.
Senior Ronnie Sturgill finished 10th out of 169 runners at last year’s NCAA II Southeast Regional and was the Trojans’ top finisher at the National Championship in Spokane, Wash. Jamar Davis and Erasmo Ordonez, who were also part of the Trojans’ seven-man roster at the National Championship, also return.
Belmont Abbey finished fourth in the poll with Erskine, fifth followed by Limestone, Lees-McRae, Barton, North Greenville, Pfeiffer, and Coker respectively rounding-out the poll standing.
Conference Carolinas Men’s Cross Country Pre-Season Poll (# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)
1. King (2) 92
2. Queens - (6) 87
3. Mount Olive - (2) 85
4. Belmont Abbey - 64
5. Erskine - 60
6. Limestone - 55
7. Lees-McRae - 54
8. Barton - 38
9. North Greenville - 26
T-10. Pfeiffer - 22
T-10. Coker - 22