BLUE MOUNTAIN, Miss. – Cross Country season is around the corner and Blue Mountain College is looking to capitalize on a strong outing from the 2018 season. As per tradition, head coach Phillip Laney's squad will be one of the top women's teams inside the conference, and possibly the nation. Returning for Laney is the SSAC's 2018 Runner of the Year and champ Elle Hamilton (SR/Shannon, Miss.), along with decorated medalist Leah Johnson (JR/Lumberton, Miss.). Both women were all-conference and qualified for the NAIA National Championship last year. “I think we have a really good opportunity to make a statement this year,” Laney said. “We have six returners and some new ones coming in who can really make an impact. I am excited about the upcoming season and look forward to seeing them excel.” On the men's side, Heather Duley is in the driver's seat as the head coach at BMC. Duley spent last season as the head junior varsity coach to both programs. The Toppers have the luxury of welcoming back all-conference top runner Braden Hardy (JR/Blue Mountain, Miss.). Hardy also qualified for the 2018 National Championship. “I'm expecting to make improvements from last year with our returners along with a large number of incoming runners who have the potential to impact the team right away,” Duley said. “More importantly, I can see this group of men are going to work well together as they represent Blue Mountain College.” Both teams will roll out August 30 to Clinton at the Mississippi College Season Opener with the men's starting gun fired at 5 p.m. and the women's at 5:30 p.m.