Both the men’s and the women’s teams go into the meet ranked nationally and will look to earn the automatic bids to the NAIA National Championship meet on Nov. 18 in Vancouver, Washington.
“I feel pretty confident about this weekend,” said sophomore Mitch Bronstetter. “This will be the first time that we’ve had our full scoring five healthy on the same course on the same day all year. Honestly, I think we’re a little underrated because we haven’t had our full team out there and we’ve only raced one 8K this year,” said freshman Tim Thacker.
After dropping the season opener at The University of the Cumberlands, which is a historically competitive team in NAIA, the Buffs will return to the road for the next three games.
“This will be a tough stretch for us before Christmas,” head coach Bill Robinson said. “We’re going to have grow up as a team and have to learn self-motivation.”
The team was led by Tyler Nichols with 14 points. Nichols led the team in scoring last season coming off of the bench, but will now play a prominent role for the Buffs.
“Tyler is a great kid and he’s a really hard worker,” Robinson said. “It’s way too early to tell what the conference is going to be like, but we should be able to compete with a lot of the teams. We have more depth this year.”
The first home game for the Buffs will be on Nov. 14 against fellow AAC opponent Truett-McConnell University. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Head coach Rich Aubrey is no stranger to winning as last year was the 11th time in 12 years that his team at Milligan has won 18 or more games.
The Buffs earned a spot in the NAIA Division II national tournament last year, but fell short to Dakota Wesleyan University in the national tournament.
“Losing three seniors to graduation will hurt us, but we have more depth than we had last year,” Aubrey said. “Last year, we were not fresh going into the tournament and were beat up. We hope to distribute the minutes more evenly this year and start playing our best basketball near the end of the season.”
Milligan also returns last year’s AAC player of the year Sarah Robinson, who averaged a double-double last year as a sophomore.
The Buffs finished off the regular season by winning the final three games and finishing 12-2-3. The team will host Columbia College at home Friday in the AAC tournament.
Milligan won the only meeting of the season at Columbia on Oct. 25, 4-2. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The men’s soccer team won an opening-round game in the AAC tournament on the road at St. Andrews University in a 3-2 overtime game.
This marked only the third win of the season for the Buffs, but it came at the right time to keep their season going.
The Buffs will travel next to Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. The Lions won the only meeting of the season on Oct. 11, 4-1 over the Buffs.