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    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook

    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook (September 25, 2012)


    Men - Alabama's youthful men’s cross country teams got their first extensive look at SEC competition as well as top regional competitors on Sept. 15 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. Alabama returns to action on Friday at the Notre Dame Invitational. Women - Alabama's young women’s cross country team placed fifth in the team standings Sept. 15 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. Alabama returns to action on Friday at the Notre Dame Invitational.


    Men - The Razorbacks ran to a second-place finish at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational in Earlysville, Va. The team was paced by three top-five efforts from Kemoy Campbell, Eric Fernandez and Solomon Haile. In his first race as a Razorback, Campbell captured the individual title with an 8K time of 24:04.7, seven seconds faster than the second-place runner. Fernandez finished in third place while Haile was fifth overall. The Razorbacks’ top-five lineup was rounded out by Layne Nixon and Cale Wallce. As a result of the team’s performance in Virginia, the Razorbacks are ranked No. 17 in this week’s USTFCCCA national poll, up five spots from their previous position. Arkansas’ next meet is scheduled for Oct. 12 with the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison. That same weekend, Fayetteville will play host to the 24th Chile Pepper Festival at Agri Park. Women - The No. 10 Razorback women did not run last weekend and will next compete Sept. 29 at the Greater Louisville Classic, site of the 2012 NCAA Championship. In this week’s release of the USTFCCCA polls, Arkansas is down one spot in the national ranking but maintains its top spot in the South Central Regional.


    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 on Sept. 15 … 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 … The Tigers return to action Sept. 29 at the Greater Louisville Classic.


    After a week free of competition following Florida’s lone home invitational Sept. 15, several Gators will suit up for the Orange and Blue Sept. 29 at the St. Leo Invitational. Florida will take 10 runners, five men and women, down to the Tampa area for the Saturday morning men’s 8K and women’s 6K races at 7:30 and 8:15 a.m., respectively. For the Florida women, Saturday’s race will mark the first 6K event of the fall season thus far. The Gators will then prepare for the first big test of the season Oct. 13 at Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky. UF boasts two SEC Runner of the Week accolades so far, one for each week of Gator competition, with both honors going to freshman and Wilmington, Del., native Julie Macedo. For all the latest on Florida Cross Country, follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneXCntry and @GZTrackField.


    Georgia took the weekend off as the teams prepare for the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 29. Louisville will also be hosting the NCAA Championships on the same course on Nov. 17. 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. 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 Kentucky men’s and women’s cross country teams completed their second meet of the fall, with the women placing second with 47 points and the men placing seventh with 200 points at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. Cally Macumber led the women’s squad in the 5K event, taking first place after completing the event in 17:29.13. Macumber’s first-place finish comes after she took second to start the year at the Belmont Opener. Senior Chelsea Oswald ran the 5K in 17:53.34, crossing the finish line sixth to earn her second top-10 finish of the year. Junior Allison Peare joined Oswald in the top 10, coming across in ninth after completing the event in 18:28.84. Senior Luis Orta led the men’s team for a second consecutive event, finishing 16th out of 87 in the 8K event. Orta completed the event in 24:37.73. Sophomore Mackay Wilson finished in 25:54.14 to place 46th, while junior Matt Hillenbrand finished 52nd after finishing with a time of 26:07.60. The Wildcats will head to Louisville, Ky., for the final two events of the fall, competing in the Greater Louisville Classic Sept. 29, and will wrap up the regular season at Pre-Nationals on Oct. 13.


    The LSU men's and women's cross country teams continued their streak of impressive performances as they hosted the LSU Invitational at Highland Road Park in Baton Rouge, La. this past Saturday. The Lady Tigers finished first overall with 17 points, lead by senior Laura Carelton. Carelton was the meet's first place finisher with a time of 20 minutes, 34.7 seconds, a season best. Junior Natoya Goule finished second behind Carelton with a time of 21:00.8 and senior Dakota Goodman finished third and posted a time of 21:02.2. The men's team also posted a solid performance with a second place overall finish with 72 points. Top ten finishers for the Tigers included senior Roger Cooke who finished seventh with a time of 27:18.30 and sophomore Phillip Primeaux rounding out the top ten posting a time of 27:53.1. Both the men's and women's cross country teams will be back in action this weekend as they travel to Lake Charles, La. to participate in the McNeese Cowboy Stampede held at Enos Darbonne Recreation Complex. The women's race will begin at 8:45 a.m. CDT followed by the men at 9:15 a.m.

    Ole Miss

    Men – Ole Miss will return to action Saturday at the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky. The men are looking to improve after a seventh-place finish at the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tenn. on Sept. 15. Ole Miss will be led by senior Riley Young who placed 19th overall at Vanderbilt. The Rebels will also look for leadership from junior Max Holman and freshman Seumas O’Reilly. Women – The Rebels, ranked No. 4 in the South region, did not compete over the weekend. The Rebels will return to the course on Saturday morning at the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky. The women clinched a second-place finish at the Commodore Classic on Sept. 15. Ole Miss will be led by senior Katie Breathitt who claimed first place at the Commodore Classic. Breathitt was named SEC Women’s Runner of the Week after her performance at Vanderbilt. The Rebels will also look to get a boost from fellow seniors Anne Threlkeld and Kelsey Breathitt, Katie’s twin sister.
    Mississippi State

    After a strong performance on Sept. 15 at the Commodore Classic, the Bulldogs will return to action at the Notre Dame Invite in South Bend, Ind. on Sept. 28. The Maroon and White squads finished in the Top 5 in Nashville, as the women seized the fourth place finish with 117 points, beating fellow SEC opponents Alabama, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee. The men finished fifth with 183 points, knocking Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt out of the top spots. Races in Indiana will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday at the Notre Dame Golf Course.

    The Missouri Tigers will return to action this Saturday at the Greater Louisville Classic.  The Men’s Gold Race is scheduled to go off at 9:30 a.m., the Women’s Gold Race at 10:15 a.m., Men’s Blue Race at 10:45 a.m. and finally the Women’s Blue Race at 11:30 a.m.  Both teams are looking forward to the competition and seeing how they match up against some of the best in the country.

    South Carolina

    The Gamecocks did not compete last week and will return to action on Friday in the Charlotte Invitational at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, N.C. …Carolina is coming off of a seventh-place finish out of 24 teams at the Commodore Classic at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn. …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.


    After posting a third place team finish at Vanderbilt’s Commodore Classic on Sept. 15, the Vol cross country team returns to action this week at the annual Brooks Paul Short Run at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., on Friday morning at 11 a.m. UT has been led by newcomer Peter Okwera in its two races, as he finished second place overall at the Commodore Classic with an 8K time of 24:36.49. Freshman Kyle Walter placed 17th overall with a personal-best mark of 25:11.35 and was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week for his efforts. The Lady Vols will also be in action at the meet and are looking to improve on a 12th place finish in Nashville. Freshman Alexis Panisse has paced the Lady Vols all season, notching finishes of seventh and 12th in her first career meets with the Big Orange. The Orange & White take another week off before competing at Alabama’s Crimson Classic on Saturday, Oct. 13.

    Texas A&M

    Texas A&M will have a squad of 20 athletes competing at the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, Sept. 28, and will be joined by a pair of SEC schools in Alabama and Mississippi State at South Bend, Ind. This marks the third meet of the season for the Aggies and the first meet where they will face competition outside of the South Central region. The field at Notre Dame is scheduled to include 10 men’s teams and five women’s teams who are nationally ranked among the top 30. Men – The No. 15 nationally ranked A&M squad will run with a crew of 12 runners in their annual trek to South Bend for a five mile race on the Burke Memorial Golf Course. Last season the unranked Aggies placed seventh among a field of 26 teams and bettered four nationally ranked squads while Henry Lelei finished eighth individually to lead A&M’s effort. The Aggies have won both meets they have contested so far this season, scoring 37 points each at the Baylor Twilight and the Rice Invitational. Women – With a crew of eight runners the Aggies will compete on a 5,000-meter course on the Notre Dame campus. A young A&M squad placed 20th out of 28 teams a year ago amid inclement weather conditions that included wind gusts and rain. Sophie Blake has led the Aggies in their first two meets, placing eighth at Baylor and second at Rice. Texas A&M claimed top team honors in its last meet at the Rice Invitational with a score of 42 points.


    Men - The Vanderbilt men's cross country team will hit the course for the third time this season when they travel to the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, September 29. The Commodores are coming of a 17th place finish at the Commodore Classic, where they were paced by Matthew Cleveland and John Ewing. Cleveland placed 73rd, while Ewing was 94th. Vanderbilt was without senior Billy Malmed, who had been their top runner in the Belmont Opener. Vanderbilt did score better than SEC foe LSU in the race, which included seven of the top-15 teams in the USTFCCCA's South Region rankings. The Greater Louisville Classic is expected to have one of the deepest fields of the season, serving as a preview of the NCAA Championships which will also be run in Louisville. Following Louisville, the Commodores will travel to the Evansville Invitational on October 13. Women - The Vanderbilt women's cross country will take a national ranking of eighth into the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, September 29. The Commodores have two wins in two races this season (Belmont Opener, Commodore Classic.) Junior Liz Anderson, who placed third at the Commodore Classic and was the top Vanderbilt finisher, will be looking for a strong showing as she returns to her native Louisville. In addition to Anderson, Vanderbilt placed three other runners in the top-10 against a deep field that included nine of the South's top-15 teams. Kristen Findley placed fourth, Kristen Smith was sixth and Hannah Jumper was seventh. The Greater Louisville Classic is expected to have one of the deepest fields of the season, serving as a preview of the NCAA Championships which will also be run in Louisville. Following Louisville, the Commodores will split their women's squad, with the top runners going to Wisconsin on October 12 and the B-team to Evansville on October 13.