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    SEC Cross Country Notebook

    SEC Cross Country Notebook (September 18, 2012)


    Alabama

    Men - Alabama's youthful men’s cross country teams got their first extensive look at SEC competition as well as top regional competitors on Saturday at the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tenn. The Alabama men were 15th in the team race, despite competing a total all-freshman team. Running on the same course that will host the Southeastern Conference Championships in October, the Crimson Tide was led by freshman Gil Walton's 74th place showing as he covered 8 kilometers in 26:21.06. Women - Alabama's young women’s cross country team placed fifth in the team standings Saturday at the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tenn. Running on the same course that will host the Southeastern Conference Championships in October, the Crimson Tide women were led by senior Elsbeth Denton's 22nd place finish as she ran the 6-kilomoeter course in 22 minutes, 6.73 seconds. Denton bettered her 6-kilometer personal best time by more than a minute while leading Alabama. The team’s lone senior appears primed to have her best season at Alabama in her final semester with the program. Denton, who was married this summer, improved her personal best at the 6k distance to 22:06.73.

    Arkansas

    Men - The Razorbacks did not compete last weekend and moved up one spot to No. 22 in the most recent USTFCCCA national poll. Arkansas returns to the course Saturday for the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational in Earlysville, Va. The race is scheduled for a 9 a.m. (CT) start. Women - Jessica (Jackson) Kamillos was the Razorbacks’ top runner with a third-place individual finish last Saturday at the First to the Finish Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo. Using a lineup of its younger student-athletes, Arkansas finished second overall in the team standings. The Razorbacks’ lineup consisted of two juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen. Overall, the team placed three runners—Kamillos, Rachel Carpino and Valerie Reina—inside the top 10. In the most recent USTFCCCA poll, Arkansas moved up two spots to a season-high No. 9 ranking. The team’s next meet is scheduled for Sept. 29 with the Greater Louisville Classic in Kentucky.

    Auburn

    Auburn posted wins on the men’s and women’s sides for the third consecutive week to open the 2012 season with team victories in both meets in Mobile at the Azalea City Classic hosted by the University of South Alabama … The Auburn men had all five scorers finish in the top eight overall and seven men placed in the top 15 … Kane Grimster was the top finisher for the men as he placed second, followed immediately by Niklas Buhner … Grimster’s mark of 25:26.79 is the 13th fastest by an SEC runner this fall in the 8k … Grimster, Griffin Jaworski (26:06.14), Jason Miller (26.17.97) and Hunter Hayes (26:36.82) all established new personal bests in the 8k … The Auburn women won its third-straight event on the back of strong days from Alissa Fisher, Erin Fondren and a pair of freshmen … Fisher was third overall in 22:20.58 and Fondren set a new PR in 22:34.21 with a fifth-place finish … Freshmen Taylor Duncan (7th, 22:55.76) and Sage Blackwell (9th, 23:09.47) finished well and Lizzie Briasco rounded out the scorers in 12th place … In this week’s USTFCCCA South Region rankings, the Auburn men are 4th and the women are ranked 13th.

    Florida

    Both University of Florida cross country teams took advantage of races on their home turf at UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course Sept. 15 as the Gators secured team victories at the 24th Annual Mountain Dew Invitational on both the men’s and women’s sides. Florida’s women turned in a perfect 15-point team score, claiming the top five finishes in the collegiate women’s/open 5K race, while the Gator men’s team packed five scorers into the top 10 of the men’s 8K for the overall title (28 points). Junior newcomer Agata Strausa won the women’s event for the Orange and Blue, while junior Florence Ngetich, SEC Women’s Freshman Runner of the Week Julie Macedo, senior Callie Cooper and junior Steph Strasser placed second through fifth, respectively, to collaborate for the perfect women’s score. On the men’s side, junior Mark Parrish was UF’s highest finisher in third, while senior Josh Izewski took fourth overall. A trio of sophomores in Jimmy Clark, JL Hines and Eddie Garcia scored third through fifth for the Gators.  Notably, the winner in the men’s college/open 8K race was former Gator cross country All-American Jeremy Criscione, running unattached. UF turned in pack spreads of 20 and 41 seconds on the women’s and men’s sides, respectively. The Gators enter nearly a three-week training period before competition Oct. 5 at the Seminole Invitational, then the first big test of the season awaits the squads at Pre-Nationals October 13 in Louisville, Ky. Follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneXCntry and @GZTrackField for all the latest news and info.

    Georgia

    Men - With its five scorers from the season opener resting, 30th-ranked Georgia traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to race at the Commodore Classic on Sept. 15.  The Bulldogs managed a fourth-place finish (173 points) with four out of the five scorers being either freshmen or sophomores.  Sophomore Zack Sims led the way after completing the 8k course in 25:25.10 for 25th place.  Finishing 10 spots behind Sims was 2011 All-SEC Freshman team member Brendan Hoban, who took 35th (25:39.72).  True freshman Sid Vaughn got his first action for the Bulldogs and finished 37th after crossing the finish line in 25:40.46.  Steven Spevacek was the next scorer for the Bulldogs at 43rd (25:51.15) while senior Kyle James finished 47th (25:55.77) to also break into the scoring column.  Also of note, sophomore Austin Ulich finished just a spot behind James with a time of 25:58.52.  The Bulldogs return to action versus some of the nation's top talent at the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, Sept. 29.  Louisville will also be hosting the NCAA Championships on the same course on Nov. 17. Women - The Georgia women had two finishers in the top 30 and completed the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tenn., in sixth place (190).  Sophomore Carly Hamilton, who sat out the season opener while recovering from an injury, was the Lady Bulldogs' top finisher for the second time in her career after clocking a 21:55.96 in Georgia's first 6k of the year.  Junior Bret McDaniel also returned to the lineup and took 26th with a time of 22:13.62.  McDaniel competed for UGA last season after transferring in from Wake Forest.  The Lady Bulldogs' third finisher was senior Nicole DiMercurio, who has now scored at each of Georgia's first two meets.  DiMercurio took 43rd with a time of 22:35.86.  Sophomore Anna Bowles was next across the finish line for UGA as the Martinez, Ga., native clocked a 22:48.00 for 54th place.  While senior Lindsey Ebert took 60th overall, junior Savannah Kirk rounded out the scorers with a mark of 22:54.18 for 59th place.  The Lady Bulldogs return to action versus some of the nation's top talent at the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, Sept. 29.  Louisville will also be hosting the NCAA Championships on the same course on Nov. 17.

    Kentucky

    The Kentucky men’s and women’s cross country teams started off the season on a high note, both earning second-place finishes, including the women finishing one point off first, on Aug. 31 at the Belmont Invitational in Nashville, Tenn. The men were led by senior Luis Orta as he claimed his second consecutive victory at the Belmont Opener and recorded a first-place finish to open the season for a third consecutive year. The Caracas, Venezuela, native finished the 5K event in 15:16.70. Cally Macumber led the women with a second-place finish, completing the 4K event in 14:11.10 while Chelsea Oswald followed her across the finish line with a third-place finish in 14:25.60. Matt Hillenbrand posted a top-10 finish for the men while Allison Peare and Hiruni Wijayaratne also posted top-10 finishes for the women. The Wildcats will return to action Sept. 22 in Charlottesville, Va., for the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational.
     
    LSU

    The LSU cross country team posted a solid performance at the Commodore Classic this past weekend in Nashville, Tenn. The Lady Tigers were led by senior Laura Carleton to a ninth-place finish and a team total of 235 points. On the men's side, Roger Cooke propelled the Tigers to a 19th place finish with 481 points. Both teams will continue their season by hosting the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge, La., at Highland Road Park. The women's 6,000-meter race will begin at 8:05 a.m. CDT, followed by the men's 8,000-meter race beginning at 9:15 a.m.

    Ole Miss

    Men - The Ole Miss men turned in a seventh-place effort at the Commodore Classic on Saturday. They were led by senior Riley Young, who finished 19th with a time of 25:13.59 on the 8K course. Freshman Seumas O’Reilly and junior Max Holman finished in the top 40 with times of 25:40.97 and 25:45.98, respectively. Junior Loren Newsom finished with a time of 26:08.74 and placed 61st overall. Freshman Ian Carter, junior Al Lowe and sophomore Alex Nichols rounded out the scoring for the Ole Miss men. The Rebels outdistanced SEC foe Alabama and LSU in Saturday’s meet. They will enjoy a week off before heading to the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 29 in Louisville, Ky. Women - The Ole Miss women finished runner-up at the Commodore Classic on Saturday. The Rebels were led by senior Katie Breathitt, who claimed first place in the women’s 6K race with a time of 21:03.23. It was her first career individual victory in cross country. Fellow seniors Kelsey Breathitt and Anne Threlkeld also placed in the top 15 out of 216 runners. Threlkeld came in 13th with a time of 21:44.98, while Kelsey Breathitt, Katie’s twin sister, finished 14th with a time of 21:45.11. Juniors Amy McCrory and Kayleigh Skinner finished strong for Ole Miss, both placing in the top 30. Haley Cutright rounded out the scoring for the Rebel women. Ole Miss beat six SEC rivals on Saturday in Mississippi State, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, LSU and Tennessee. They will enjoy a week off before heading to the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 29 in Louisville, Ky.
     
    Mississippi State

    After lacing up on the road to face their SEC foes for the first time this season, Mississippi State men’s and women’s cross country teams returned home with Top 5 finishes at the Commodore Classic. Renee Masterson (21:25.57) led the way for the Lady Bulldogs, finishing eighth in the 6K, amongst a field of more than 200 runners. Jodie McGuff (22:11.53) and Chloe Phillips (22:12.44) also had top finishes for the women, rounding out the Top 25 at 24th and 25th, respectively. MSU seized the fourth place finish with 117 points, beating fellow SEC opponents Alabama, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee. Capturing the team victory for the women was sixth-ranked Vanderbilt. The men finished fifth with 183 points, after a strong 8K run from John Valentine (22nd, 25:17.22). Following Valentine’s Top 25 finish were Philip Johnson (33rd, 25:36.37), Andrew Monaghan (45th, 25:54.02) and Cameron Vernier (46th, 25:54.76).  The Bulldogs knocked Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt out of the top spots. The Maroon and White squads will continue their campaign on Sept. 28 at the Notre Dame Invite in South Bend, Ind.
     
    Missouri

    Men – The Missouri Men won their season opener at the Iowa State Cross Country Classic, beating out the Midwest Region’s 5th ranked Iowa State, 25-35.  Senior Max Storms was the first across the line for the Tigers, finishing 3rd overall in 25:23.  He was followed in by the tight pack of sophomore Bryant Blahnik, freshman Tyler Schneider, junior Merid Seleshi, junior Hayden Legg, and freshman Evan Chiplock.  The group took control of the pace early with a pack of eight leading the way for most of the race.  They finished with six in the top-10, going 3-5-6-7-8-9, all packed within 15 seconds.  The Tigers will hit the course again on September 29 when they travel to the Greater Louisville Classic.  Women – The Missouri Women also began their season at the Iowa State Cross Country Classic, finishing second behind Iowa State, top-ranked in the Midwest Region and 5th in the National Rankings.  Senior Bailey Belvis led the Tigers with a great performance, pulling off the overall win in 17:54, beating out a pack of Iowa State runners.  She was followed by sophomores Maria Effinger, Courtney Wood, Ali Ross, Courtney Brown and freshman Sam Garrett to go 1-8-9-15-16, earning 35 points behind Iowa State’s 24.  The Tigers return to training this week before competing on September 29 at the Greater Louisville Classic.

    South Carolina

    The Gamecocks returned from a two-week break to finish seventh out of 24 teams at the Commodore Classic at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn. …Coming off a win at the Gamecock Invitational, freshman Kayla Lampe led South Carolina once again, finishing second in the 6K race with a PR of 21:06.24…Senior Chelsea France also had a strong showing, claiming 15th with a time of 21:47.03…The Gamecocks have this week off before returning to action on Friday, Sept. 28 in the Charlotte Invitational at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, N.C.

    Tennessee

    The University of Tennessee men’s and women’s cross country squads returned to action in the state capital on Saturday at Vanderbilt’s annual Commodore Classic. With one of the deepest fields in event history, the Vols placed third at the 8,000-meter Percy Warner Park course – the site of the 2012 SEC Championships – in a field of 24 teams with 121 total points. UT was the top finishing squad from the SEC and was once again led by sophomore transfer Peter Okwera. He placed second overall with a time of 24:36.49, just .34 seconds behind the event winner. Okwera led all SEC runners at the event, while freshman Kyle Walter finished 17th overall with a personal-best time of 25:11.35. The Lady Vols were once again paced by freshman Alexis Panisse, who placed 12th in a loaded field of 216 runners. Panisse navigated the 6K course in 21:43.54, as the Lady Vols tied for 12th at the event. The squads return to action on Friday, Sept. 28 when they travel to Bethlehem, Pa., to compete in the Brooks/Paul Short Run, an event hosted by Lehigh University.

    Texas A&M

    Texas A&M enjoyed a pair of team victories during a humid evening in Houston as the Aggies won the Rice Invitational. The A&M men scored 37 points while the women tallied 42 as each bettered over a dozen teams from the South Central region. Following a week off the Aggies will compete at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 28. Men – Henry Lelei’s first race of the season had him covering the 6,000-meter course in a time of 16:25 to win by 23 seconds. Lelei pulled away from the field of 148 runners early and cruised to a comfortable victory. Texas A&M placed its five scoring runners, which includes four seniors, among the top 15 finishers. Sophomore Isaac Spencer placed fifth and was the second Aggie finisher in 16:57. Then a trio of seniors followed with Stephen Curry (8th-17:04), MacLean O’Donnell (11th-17:11), and James Hodges (15th-17:12). Even the next pair of Aggies finished within the top 20 with C.J. Brown (18th-17:15) and Jake Roberts (20th-17:21). Texas A&M, ranked No. 2 in the South Central, bettered No. 4 Lamar and No. 5 Rice, who tied for second place with 85 points, while No. 6 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi finished fourth with 88 points and No. 7 McNeese State placed fifth with 93. Women - The Aggie women enjoyed a commanding team victory as they were led once again by Sophie Blake, who placed second overall with a time of 12:53 over the 4,000-meter course. A&M’s top five all finished among the top 15 places in reaching a score of 42 points. Amanda Jenkins was the second Aggie in fifth place with a time of 13:00 while Hillary Montgomery clocked 13:05 for eighth place. Shawn Dalglish (12th-13:13) and Gabby Salazar (15th-13:19) rounded out the team scoring places while Grace Fletcher (24th-13:33) and Heather Sterling (27th-13:39) were the sixth and seventh finishers for A&M. Ranked No. 3 in the South Central region, the Aggie women topped No. 8 Rice, who was runner-up with 114 points, as well as No. 9 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, third with 123 points, and No. 10 SFA, who placed fourth with 139.

    Vanderbilt

    Men - The Vanderbilt men's cross country team placed 17th at the annual Commodore Classic on Saturday, September 15. The Commodores were paced by Matthew Cleveland, who finished 73rd overall. John Ewing also finished in the top-100 of the 24-team field, finishing 94th. The field included seven of the top-15 teams in the South region and seven SEC squads, serving as a preview for the 2012 SEC Championships, which will also be held at Percy Warner Park. Vanderbilt edged Georgia State and SEC foe LSU in the team scoring while missing its top runner to injury. Next up for Vanderbilt is a trip to the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, September 29. Women - The Vanderbilt women's cross country teams scored its second win in as many races on Saturday, September 15, taking home the team title at the Commodore Classic. Liz Anderson paced the Commodores, placing third with a time of 21:08.80. She was followed by Kristen Findley, who ran the season's first 6K race in a time of 21:12.36. Just behind Anderson and Findley were Kristen Smith and Hannah Jumper, who finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Smith posted a time of 21:18.92 in her first race of the season. Jumper, who won the individual title at the Belmont Opener two weeks ago, ran a time of 21:20.33. Rounding out the scoring for Vanderbilt was freshman Sara Barron, who placed 23rd (scoring 22 points), with a time of 22:11.49 in her second career race. Next up for the Commodores is the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, September 29.