RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (Harding) - After consecutive runner-up showings, Harding dethroned East Central to claim the program's first Great American Conference Men's Cross County Championship title on Saturday from the campus of Arkansas Tech University.
Andrew Evans earned GAC Runner of the Year as he paced the Bisons to the team title. He won the event in a time of 24:56.9, more than nine seconds ahead of his closest competitors. Evans improved by more than three minutes and on a 20th-place showing at last year's GAC Championship.
The Bisons' Lajos Farkas, Taylor Lively and Mattew Cumpian took third, fourth and fifth as they beat the Tigers by 15 points. Head coach Steve Guymon received the GAC Coach of the Year award following a vote of his peers.
Will Baldwin's second-place effort led the way for East Central. Tiger freshman Bruce Bragg finished sixth and earned the GAC Freshman of the Year award. Raganza Mugisha, competing in his first race as a member of the ECU team, finished seventh.
Southern Arkansas finished third and Arkansas-Monticello took fourth. SAU freshman Chris Wallace led the Muleriders with a 10th-place showing.
The runners from Southern Nazarene and Northwestern Oklahoma State competed in the meet, but ran as individuals. Two Crimson Storm runners earned All-GAC honors as Andrew Leahey took eighth to earn First-Team honors and Grayson Haws finished 15th to snare a spot on the Second Team.