|BLUE MOUNTAIN, Miss. – While the Blue Mountain College women’s cross country team brought home the first NAIA conference championship in the school’s history, both women and men racked up the individual awards at the TranSouth Athletic Conference yearend meet.
Austin Epting, a senior four-time all-conference runner, and Carter Witt, a freshman, were named men’s Runner of the Year and Newcomer of the Year respectively, and Phillip Laney, in his first year as BMC cross country coach, was named the TASAC Women’s Coach of the Year.
Epting, from Baldwyn and East Union, won the men’s individual 8000-meters championship with a time of 26:38, while Witt, from Dardanelle, Ark., was second at 27:16. Both were named to the men’s all-conference team along with Luke Hatcher, a freshman from Pontotoc, who was sixth with a time of 28:25.
In the women’s 5000-meters competition, BMC sophomore Latifa Swims from Carrollton, sophomore Kelsea Hendrix from Corinth, freshman Micayla Everett of Gulfport and freshman Kacie Harris from Tupelo were selected All-TSAC runners.
“I’m very excited and pleased for the women’s cross country team and Coach Laney for their outstanding achievement,” said Lavon Driskell, BMC athletics director.
“They’ve shown an outstanding work ethic and commitment all season and it has paid great dividends for them and for the college.”
Driskell said he was also proud of the individual awards BMC runners came home with.
“I’m not surprised one bit that Austin Epting was named Runner of the Year,” he said. “Austin has shown an unbelievable commitment to becoming superior runner since he’s been here. I would have been surprised if he hadn’t been named Runner of the Year.
“And we’re also excited with the honors all of our runners received. They have worked hard and they’re very deserving.”