UPLAND, Ind. – The Taylor University men's cross country team will open up what it hopes to develop into a fourth-straight season with a top-20 showing at the NAIA National Championships when it opens the 2017 campaign at Indiana Wesleyan on Friday.
"Depth is our primary strength as we prepare for another exciting season of hard work and growth," said fifth-year head coach Lance Vanderberg. "We have a tremendous mix of newcomers and returners and we hope to achieve our highest finish at nationals since we returned to that stage three years ago. Our focus will be on the end of the season, as we continually assess our health and training in the coming months. As always, our number one priority is to glorify God as He shapes us through the sport."
Vanderberg has quickly guided the Trojans back to national prominence during his four seasons at the helm of the program. TU has gone 331-68 overall in those four years and has posted three-straight top-three finishes in the competitive Crossroads League standings with successive finishes of 15th, 19th and 18th at nationals in the past three seasons.
The 2017 Trojans boast 16 returners from the squad that went 81-15 last season and advanced to finish 18th at the NAIA National Championships. The group is highlighted by former All-Crossroads League performers, Stephen Cho and Ben Byrd, as well as senior Joe Beamish and senior transfer Alec DeVries, who was a three-time national qualifier at Morningside.
In addition to DeVries, Taylor also added six incoming freshmen, with the hopes of building on its recent run of success which has included a head-to-head mark of 242-45 as a team over the past three years.
No. 15 Taylor will open its season on Friday at IWU, when it hits the course at 6:00 pm.