HIGH POINT, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's cross country team was picked to finish second in the annual Conference Carolinas Preseason Men's Cross Country Coaches' Poll on Thursday. Along with the team receiving the second place nod, the trio of Austin Thompson, Joshua Hall and Nolan Capps were all named as runners to watch for the Bobcats this season.
Thompson comes into his final season as a Bobcat as one of the more decorated runners in program history. Thompson, who is a two-time All-Conference Carolinas runner during his time in Banner Elk, owns seven of the top 20 times in the history of LMC men's cross country.
Hall has competed in a total of 12 races so far during his career at Lees-McRae. The Ferguson, N.C. native set new career-bests in each of his last three races of 2017. Hall started by setting a new personal-best in a 5K race at Furman's Gene Mullin Invite followed by top personal marks in the five mile run and 10k race, respectively.
Rounding out Lees-McRae's runners to watch is Nolan Capps. Capps, who transferred to LMC prior to last season, was routinely one of the team's top runners from a season ago. Capps's top finish of 2017 came at the Conference Carolinas Championship where he placed 14th with a time of 27:06.0 to claim All-Conference Carolinas Third Team honors.
Headlining the league's preseason poll was defending league champion, Mount Olive. The Trojans collected eight of the nine first-place votes and 80 points overall. Nipping at UMO's heels are the trio of Lees-McRae (72 points), North Greenville (63 points) and Emmanuel (50 points). These three programs along with the rest of the schools within the conference will try to snap Mount Olive's streak of six straight conference championships.
The final five spots of Thursday's poll went to King (49 points), Barton (46 points), Limestone (45 points), Belmont Abbey (35 points) and Southern Wesleyan (28 points).
LMC will kick off its 2018 season on September 1 when it travels to Salisbury, N.C. to compete in the Chik-Fil-A Cross Country Invitational.