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    SEC Cross Country Notebook

    SEC Cross Country Notebook (October 2, 2012)


    Alabama's inexperienced cross country teams stepped up in class and struggled at the 57th annual Notre Dame Invitational last Friday at the Burke Golf Course in South Bend, Ind. The women's team placed 16th of 18 teams while the men's team did not place as only four of the required five runners for scoring finished the race. The Crimson Tide, fielding a roster almost entirely made up of freshmen in both divisions, showed progress against the toughest field it has faced thus far this season. The Tide women placed 16th of 18 teams in the field as Florida State won the team race ahead of Notre Dame. Alabama was close behind the other SEC teams in the team, placing just back of Texas A&M (13th) and Mississippi State (15th). Meropi Panagiotou led Alabama in 58th overall in 17 minutes, 32 seconds, just ahead of Elsbeth Denton. Alabama will take the weekend off before returning to action on Saturday, October 13, when the Crimson Tide hosts the Crimson Classic at the Harry Pritchett Running Park.


    Men - The Razorbacks did not compete this week but moved up to No. 17 in the most recent USTFCCCA national rankings based on the team’s performance last weekend at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. Arkansas also swept SEC honors with weekly accolades for Kemoy Campbell as Runner of the Week and Cale Wallace as Freshman of the Week. The Razorbacks’ next competition will be Oct. 12 with the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Women - The 10th-ranked Razorbacks placed three in the top 14 and ran to a third-place finish Saturday at the Greater Louisville Classic in Kentucky. Arkansas was paced by a 10th-place individual finish from Semehar Tesfaye, 13th-place effort from Andrina Schlaepfer and 14th-place result from Grace Heymsfield. The rest of Arkansas’ top five featured Diane Robison and Paige Johnston. The Razorbacks’ next competition is set for Oct. 13 with the 24th Annual Chile Pepper Festival at Agri Park in Fayetteville.


    Auburn saw its run of team victories end for both the men’s and women’s teams last Saturday … At their first meet outside the state of Alabama, the Tigers finished in 13th on the men’s side and 26th in the women’s race at the 11th Annual Greater Louisville Classic hosted by the University of Louisville at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park … Nine members of the Auburn program did set personal best marks on Saturday in Louisville … The men's team was led by five personal bests in the 8k race, including junior Samuel Mueller, who finished 55th overall in 24:47.29. Sophomore Niklas Buhner (new PR, 24:49.50) was right behind him in 57th … Sophomores Francis Hernandez (25:10.61) and Griffin Jaworski (25:24.18) along with junior Hunter Hayes (26:34.52) also recorded collegiate best times … In the women's 5k, four Auburn runners set new personal bests … Sophomore Erin Fondren (18:28.93) led the group of four Tigers setting PR marks … A trio of freshmen in Taylor Duncan (18:16.14), Kristin Sheehan (19:18.91) and Sage Blackwell (19:36.61) also had collegiate best days … Despite a subpar weekend, the Auburn men stayed in 4th place in the USTFCCA region rankings, while the women dropped to 15th … The Tigers are off this weekend before heading to Tuscaloosa on October 13 for the Crimson Classic in the final tune up before the SEC Championships.


    After a weekend free from competition and nearly a two-week training period following Florida’s home invite Sept. 15, the Gators swung back into action Sept. 29, as five members each from the men’s and women’s cross country squads headed to the Tampa area for competition in the St. Leo Invitational. Both teams returned to Gainesville victorious, while sophomore Phil Duncan and junior Shelby Hayes each recorded career-best marks en route to their first collegiate event victories on the men’s and women’s sides, respectively. Duncan’s 8K time continues to improve as he topped his previous best from the Mountain Dew Invite 9/15. For Hayes and the women’s squad, the 6K marked the first of the season, and the best time for the Winter Park, Fla., native since last year’s personal-best 6K at the 2011 SEC Championship. Five Florida runners placed in the top six on the women’s side, as the Gators racked up 17 points and were just one place shy of a perfect score. On the men’s side, four Gators recorded top-10 finishes, while all five scorers finished in the top 15. The Gators will now take two weeks to prepare for the first big test of the season Oct. 13 at Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky. For all the latest on Florida Cross Country, follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneXCntry and @GZTrackField and on Facebook.


    Men - The Bulldog men shot to 24th in the latest USTFCCCA poll after their third-place finish at the Greater Louisville Classic over the weekend.  Georgia scored 143 points to top the four other SEC teams at the meet as only Iona (47) and Columbia University (110) managed to have better finishes than the Bulldogs.  Senior Matt Cleaver shot out from the starting line to take 14th in the 8k race with a time of 24:07.88.  This was the sixth time in Cleaver's career that he had registered the top finish for the Bulldogs.  Junior Brandon Lord, who won the season-opening Georgia Invitational, was the second Bulldog across the finish line after clocking a 24:13.53 for 21st.  Fellow junior Luke Baker surged through the other 254 runners to take 29th (24:27.10) for the Bulldogs.  Georgia's final two scorers finished 40th and 42nd.  Senior Brian Detweiler managed a 24:35.66 as senior Brett Richardson completed the course in 24:37.29.  The Bulldogs' next action will come at the Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, Wisc., on Oct. 12.  This will be the final regular season action before the SEC Championships (Oct. 26), NCAA South Regionals (Nov. 9) and the NCAA Championships (Nov. 17). Women - Similar to the Georgia men, the Lady Bulldogs faced a handful of the nation's top-ranked teams and came out with a 10th-place finish (262 points) at the Greater Louisville Classic over the weekend.  In what Georgia distance coach Patrick Cunniff called a "breakout finish", sophomore Carly Hamilton led her team for the second consecutive meet.  Hamilton took 20th in the 5k showdown with a time of 17:14.92.  A pair of Lady Bulldog seniors – Morgan VanGorder and Leslie Boozer – were the next two to finish for Georgia.  VanGorder, who was the 2012 Georgia Invitational champion, was 32nd with a mark of 17:27.51 as Boozer managed a 51st-place finish (17:38.20).  Senior Nicole DiMercurio also scored for the second time this season after taking 76th with a time of 17:52.54.  The Lady Bulldogs' final scorer was junior Bret McDaniel, who was 84th after registering a time of 17:54.07.  Georgia returns to action at the Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, Wisc., on Oct. 12.  This meet will be the team's final competition before the SEC Championships in Nashville on Oct. 26.


    The Kentucky women’s cross country teams earned an eighth-place finish overall, and the men’s team posted a 12th-place performance at the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic on Saturday. The women’s team placed two runners inside the top 10. Cally Macumber was the second runner to cross the finish line in 16:55.14 to back up her individual win a week ago. Macumber has now finished inside the top two at all three meets the Wildcats have competed in this season. Chelsea Oswald was the seventh runner to complete the 5,000 meter race with a time of 16:59.32. Luis Orta led the way for the Wildcat men with a 12th-place time of 24:06.96 over 8K. It was the third-straight top-20 finish for the first team All-Southeastern Conference selection, and his ninth in-a-row dating back to the start of the 2011 season.


    For the second consecutive week in a row, the Lady Tiger cross country team posted a first place finish. This week's first place finish was accomplished at the McNeese Cowboy Stampede held at Enos Darbonne Recreation Complex in Lake Charles, La., where the team scored a total of 19 points. The Lady Tigers were once again led by senior Laura Carleton who finished the 5k race in 17 minutes, 51 seconds, senior Dakota Goodman with a time of 18:17.00, and junior Natoya Goule posting a time of 18:20.00. The runners finished the race in first, second and third place respectively. Carleton was also named last week's SEC Women's Runner of the week, an honor a LSU runner has not received since 2006. The LSU men's cross country team also posted another solid performance at the Cowboy Stampede. The team finished third overall with 49 points. Senior Roger Cooke finished the four mile race third overall with a time of 21:20.00 and sophomore Bryan Mutell rounded out the top 10 with a time of 21:49.00. Both the men's and women's teams will take a break from competition this weekend. Next action for the Tigers and Lady Tigers will be Saturday, Oct. 13 when the teams travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to participate in the Chile Pepper Festival meet held at Agri Park Cross Country Course.  

    Ole Miss

    Men - The Rebel men were back in action Saturday morning at the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky. Freshman Seumas O'Reilly was the first of the Ole Miss men to reach the finish line, completing the 8K course with a time of 25:34.57. Max Holman followed with a time of 26:15.75. Senior Riley Young, freshman Ian Carter, junior Al Lowe and sophomore Loren Newsom also scored points for the Rebels among the race's 255 competitors. Ole Miss placed 30th overall. The Rebels will have an off week before heading to the Crimson Classic on Oct. 13 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Women - The Ole Miss women competed at the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday morning in Louisville, Ky. The Rebels placed 11th out of 31 teams, led by an impressive eighth-place performance from senior Katie Breathitt. Breathitt completed the 5K course with a  time of 17:01.68. Senior Anne Threlkeld and junior Kayleigh Skinner also had solid finishes, both placing in the top 65 out of 267 runners. Threlkeld came in 60th with a time of 17:42.01, while Skinner finished 65th with a time of 17:46.11. Junior Amy McCrory, senior Kelsey Breathitt, sophomore Haley Cutright and sophomore McKenna Coughlin rounded out the scoring for the Rebel women. The Rebels outdistanced SEC foes Missouri and Auburn in Saturday's meet. Next up for Ole Miss is the Crimson Classic on Oct. 13 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    Mississippi State

    As action concluded at the 57th Annual Notre Dame Invite, Mississippi State men’s and women’s cross country teams came away with 20th- and 15th-place finishes, respectively. Facing some of the toughest competition this season, the Bulldogs raced against a total of 10 nationally ranked teams, including the No. 10 and No. 2 Florida State men and women. Masterson (33rd, 17:18) led the way in the 5K for the Lady Bulldogs, finishing in the top fourth of all female runners. Following Masterson were Katie Huston (73rd, 17:41) and Chloe Phillips (74th, 17:43). The women totaled 366 points to earn 15th place, ahead of SEC foe Alabama. The men finished 20th, accumulating 587 points with John Valentine (72nd, 24.42) leading the pack. Philip Johnson (131st, 25:32) and Curtis Kelly (140th, 25:37) also help lead the way for MSU in the 8K. After the squads return from Indiana, they will continue their campaign on Oct. 13 at the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa.


    Both University of Missouri teams travelled to Louisville, KY, this weekend for the Greater Louisville Classic.  Men – Despite the soggy conditions at Tom Sawyer State Park on Saturday, the Mizzou Men finished the day with not only a fourth place finish overall, but new personal records for all 15 of the men who competed in both the Gold and Blue Races.  Senior Max Storms once again led the way for the Tigers, clocking in a 16-second PR to place 16th in 24:09.72.  He was followed by freshman Tyler Schneider, whose impressive race earned him both a 66-second improvement from his debut race two weeks ago, as well as 27th place.  He ran a 24:23.54 and was the third freshman across the line.  Juniors Hayden Legg and Merid Seleshi came to the line together, earning 35th and 36th places, respectively.  Legg dropped ten seconds of his PR to run 24:31.88, and Seleshi dropped 50-seconds finishing in 24:32.41.  The top five was rounded off by sophomore Bryant Blahnik, whose 48-second PR earned him 41st in 24:37.25.  Women – The Lady Tigers turned out a 16th place finish at the Greater Louisville Classic, and were once again led by senior Bailey Belvis who placed 27th with a three-second PR of 17:20.59.  She was followed by junior Kaitie Vanatta, who made her debut this season with a 17:54.41 finish to place 85th.  Third in for the Tigers was another season debut performance with sophomore Liz Reida, who finished 125th in 18:12.39.  She was quickly followed by fellow-sophomores Courtney Wood and Courtney Brown.  Wood crossed in 18:13.29 for a two-second PR, and Brown crossed in 18:13.81.  The Tigers are back in action this weekend, with a small contingent travelling to Central Methodist University (Fayette, MO) for the Gary Stoner Invitational on Saturday.

    South Carolina

    The Gamecocks raced against 33 teams, including nine regionally ranked squads, and finished in 11th place with 296 points ahead of host Charlotte (338)…For the third straight meet, freshman Kayla Lampe led the way, finishing third out of 233 runners with a time of 21:13.50…A native of Downingtown, Pa., Lampe has finished first, second and third in three meets this season…Junior Penny Boswell was the next Gamecock to cross the finish line after Lampe as she placed 59th with a time of 23:02.06…Freshmen Mary Fouse (60th, 23:02.23),Anna Todd (95th, 23:31.36) and Christine Kent(104th, 23:44.23) rounded out the top five for South Carolina…The Gamecocks also had seven runners compete in the 6K Green Race and placed four in the top 20, including two in the top 10, to win the race with 46 points…Freshman Lauren Kahre claimed seventh with a time of 23:30.68, and sophomore Alex Mullin took eighth with a mark of 23:30.70 to lead the way…Freshman Lannon McCoy (12th), freshman Stephanie Berger (18th, 23:43.45), sophomore Meredith Mill (24th), freshman Lisa Zimmer (26th) and freshman Shaina Manuel (33rd) also had strong showings for South Carolina…The Gamecocks will return to action on Friday, Oct. 12 in the Queens Royal Challenge at McAlpine Park and they are also scheduled to race in the NCAA Preview Meet in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, Oct. 13.


    Newcomers Peter Okwera and Alexis Panisse once again paced the Tennessee cross country teams, leading the Vols and Lady Vols at the 39th annual Paul Short Run presented by Brooks at Lehigh University on Friday. Okwera posted a 24th place finish, navigating the 8,000-meter Goodman Campus Course in 24:37. He led the Big Orange to a program-best 11th place finish (392 points) at the prestigious 37-team event. Okwera has led UT in all three races this season. Panisse helped the Lady Vols improve 12 places from last year’s event to 20th (617 points) in a 40-team field with a 6K personal best of 21:36. As a freshman, she has led the Orange & White in all three meets. The Bellerose, N.Y., native finished 58th in a field of 360 runners. Freshman Kyle Walter impressed once again for the Vols, clocking his first 8K time below 25 minutes with a mark of 24:56 to finish 48th. Senior Kelsey Kane finished second for the Lady Vols with a personal-best mark of 22:20 (118th place). The Big Orange is off next weekend, before resuming action in its final meet before the championship portion of the schedule when it travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to compete in the Crimson Classic on Saturday, Oct. 13.

    Texas A&M

    Texas A&M placed seventh with 201 points in the men’s race at the Notre Dame Invitational this past weekend while the Aggie women finished 13th, scoring 347 points, among a field of 20 teams. The next competition for A&M involves another nationally-ranked field at the Wisconsin Invitational held in Madison on Oct. 12. Men – Henry Lelei paced the Aggie men with a second place individual finish in South Bend, running a time of 23:36 on the five-mile course. Completing A&M’s top five were James Hodges (24:10 – 18th), Stephen Curry (24:28 – 44th), Isaac Spencer (24:29 – 47th) and C.J. Brown (24:55 – 91st). In an open race, Aggie Micah Dettmer claimed top honors with a 25:04 winning time on the five-mile course. Women – Amanda Jenkins was the first Aggie to finish on the women’s side as she placed 42nd with a time of 17:25 on the 5,000-meter course. Sophie Blake, who ran with the lead pack for a majority of the race, was the second A&M finisher as she placed 52nd with a time of 17:29. Rounding out the scoring five runners were Hillary Montgomery (17:30 – 55th), Shawn Dalglish (18:02 – 100th), and Gabby Salazar (18:09 – 109th).


    Men - The Vanderbilt men's cross country team placed 23rd in the blue race at the Greater Louisville Classic. The Commodores were paced by John Ewing, who finished 42nd with a time of 25:47.28. David McAdams completed the circuit in 25:33.40 to also finish in the top 125. Next up for the Commodores is a trip to Evansville, Ind., for the Evansville Invitational on Saturday, October 13. Women - The Vanderbilt women's cross country team placed sixth in the gold race at the Greater Louisville Classic, paced by a sixth place overall finish from Kristen Findley. THe senior posted a time of 16:59.26. She was followed by Hannah Jumper (25th; 17:16.79), Liz Anderson (29th; 17:25.36) and Kristen Smith (33rd; 17:26.62). The remaining for Commodores in the race struggled to score low, with Allie Scalf finishing 86th as the fifth runner. In addition, a group of Vanderbilt runners placed eighth in the women's blue race. Vanderbilt will look to improve its team score on Friday, October 12, when they travel to the Wisconsin-Adidas Invitational. The Commodores will also send runners to the Evansville Invitational on Saturday, October 13.