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    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook

    SEC Cross Country Notebook (October 30, 2012)

    Alabama

    The University of Alabama men's and women's cross country teams began the championship portion of their schedule last Friday as the men's women's teams both finished 11th in their respective divisions at the Southeastern Conference Championships held at Percy Warner Park and hosted by Vanderbilt University. Freshman Robbie Farnham-Rose paced the men's team with a 56th place finish and a time of 25:30.68 over the 7,985-meter course. Freshmen Parker Deuel and Gil Walton trailed Farnham-Rose, coming in 61st and 71st, respectively. Sophomore Matt Joyner and freshman Eric Sivill were the Tide's final two scorers as Walton finished 71st followed by Sivill in 89th. Freshman Katelyn Greenleaf was the Alabama women's top finisher on the 6,050-meter course in 20th place with a time of 21:19.31 to earn a spot on the SEC's All-Freshman Team. Senior Elsbeth Denton was Alabama's next finisher, placing 47th in 21:47.29. Freshman Susie Kemper and junior Palee Myrex crossed next for the Tide, coming in 66th and 69th, respectively. Freshman Meropi Panagiotou wrapped up the scoring for the women's team with a 78th place finish.

    Arkansas

    Men - The ninth-ranked Razorback men ran to the team title Friday morning at the 2012 SEC Cross Country Championships in Nashville, Tenn. The win represents the third-straight SEC cross country title for Arkansas and the program’s 20th overall since joining the league in 1991-92. In addition to the team title, the Razorbacks collected six All-SEC accolades. For their top-seven performances, Solomon Haile (second place), Eric Fernandez (third) and Kemoy Campbell (fourth) were named to the All-SEC First Team. Layne Nixon (12th place) and Cale Wallace (14th) earned spots on the All-SEC Second Team. Wallace, the top freshman runner in Friday’s race, was also a member of the SEC All-Freshman team. The postseason schedule continues Friday, Nov. 9 on Arkansas’ home course as Agri Park serves as the host site of the 2012 NCAA South Central Championships. Women - The No. 12 Razorback women turned in a runner-up finish Friday morning at the 2012 SEC Cross Country Championships in Nashville, Tenn. The Razorbacks were paced by a pair of top-10 individual efforts from Grace Heymsfield in fifth place and Andrina Schlaepfer in 10th. The team finished with four runners inside the top 20.  For her finish within the top seven, Heymsfield earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team. The Razorbacks totaled two spots on the All-SEC Second Team with Schlaepfer and Diane Robison (11th place). Schlaepfer, the second freshman to cross the finish line, was also a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team. The postseason schedule continues Friday, Nov. 9 on Arkansas’ home course as Agri Park serves as the host site of the 2012 NCAA South Central Championships.

    Auburn

    Auburn men’s cross country finished eighth, while the women’s team placed 14th at the 2012 SEC Cross Country Championships hosted by Vanderbilt University at Percy Warner Park … Niklas Buhner (24:41.66, new PR) was the top finisher on the men’s side for Auburn in the 8k race, crossing the finish line in 26th place. Samuel Mueller (25:02.69) finished 37th and Griffin Jaworski (25:11.30, new PR) was 40th.  Alissa Fisher (21:32.78) finished 31st overall as the top female runner for Auburn on Friday in the 6k run. Junior Erin Fondren (70th, 22:14.05) along with freshmen Sage Blackwell (89th, 22:54.15) and Kristin Sheehan (92nd, 23:20.65) all recorded new personal best times.

    Florida

    For the third time in the last four years – and the sixth time overall – the Gator women’s cross country squad brought the SEC Title back to Gainesville. After winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, the Orange and Blue struck again this year for its sixth SEC title (’84, ’96, ’97, ’09, ’10, ’12) in women’s program history last Friday in Nashville, the second-most for an SEC women’s cross country squad. UF’s men’s squad turned in a fifth-place showing at the 2012 league meet for the program’s 16th straight top-five SEC finish. Six Gators ran lifetime best 6K marks and all five scorers turned in top-25 finishes to lead the women to the 2012 SEC Title at Percy Warner Park, including second-place finisher Florence Ngetich, who clocked in at 20:27.41 for the sixth-fastest time in Florida history as the Gators’ highest finisher. Seven different Gator runners picked up All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman honors on the afternoon, including three first team members, one second team and three All-Freshman honorees between both the men’s and women’s squads. On the men’s side, Parrish turned in the Gators’ highest finish in seventh, clocking a 24:06.09 to lead the way for the Orange and Blue. Florida will next be in action at the 2012 NCAA South Regional Championship in Tallahassee, Fla., Nov. 9, where both squads will look for top two spots to automatically qualify as teams for the 2012 NCAA Championships in Louisville. UF’s women will look to auto qualify for the fifth time in the last seven years and make a trip to NCAAs as a team for the sixth time in the same time frame. The Gator men will look to make back-to-back team trips to NCAAs after auto qualifying in second place at the South Region Championships in 2011.

    Georgia

    Men - The 28th-ranked Bulldogs traveled to Nashville, Tenn., for the SEC Championships and earned runner-up honors for just the third time in school history and first time since 2003.  Georgia had all five of its scorers finish in the top 20 as the Bulldogs scored 73 points to Arkansas'
    35.  The Bulldogs are ranked second in the latest USTFCCCA South Region poll behind Florida State as UGA attempts to qualify for its second consecutive NCAA Championships.  Senior Matt Cleaver, now a four-time at the league meet, had the top finish of his career and second top-10 finish of his career after taking fifth with a 7,985-meter time of 24:01.49.Behind Cleaver was three-time scorer Brandon Lord.  The junior from Chattanooga, Tenn., earned Second Team All-SEC honors with a 13th-place finish (24:15.45).  Lord was 10th in 2011 after opening his career with a 38th-place finish at the 2010 SEC Championships.  Senior Brian Detweiler registered the top SEC finish of his career after taking 16th with a mark of 24:21.36.  The Bulldogs' final pair of scorers were junior Luke Baker and senior Brett Richardson who took 19th and 20th, respectively.  Baker has now finished in the top 20 twice in his career after crossing the line in 24:26.66 in Nashville.  Richardson was Georgia's final scorer after taking 20th (24:29.94). Like Cleaver, this was Richardson's fourth time to score at an SEC cross country meet.  Also of note, freshmen Sid Vaughn (37th-24:59.81) and Steven Spevacek (52nd-25:27.88) were named to the SEC All-Freshman Team for their efforts.  Georgia will line up for the NCAA South Regional Championships in Tallahassee, Fla., on Nov. 9. Women - Following four straight fourth-place finishes, the Lady Bulldogs took sixth at the SEC Championships in Nashville, Tenn., in a tightly contest team race.  Georgia scored 132 points as the third- through sixth-place teams were only separated by a total of 13 points.  Sophomore Carly Hamilton, who was unable to finish the race in 2011, moved into the elite distinction of First Team All-SEC this time around by taking fourth in the 6,050-meter race with a 20:39.11.  This was the best finish for the Lady Bulldogs since Kristie Krueger won the 2010 conference title.  Three seniors were the next Georgia runners across the finish line.  Senior Morgan VanGorder scored for the first time in her career after taking 19th (21:18.89), which shaved 38 spots off her 2011 finish.  Three-time SEC scorer Leslie Boozer was 32nd in her final SEC meet after recording a time of 21:32.86.  Since taking 36th in 2010, Boozer improved two spots each of her last two years.  Fellow senior Nicole DiMercurio was 38th (21:36.96) to score for the first time and have her best finish at an SEC Championship.  The Lady Bulldogs' final scorer was sophomore transfer Bret McDaniel, who finished one spot behind DiMercurio with a 21:36.98. Georgia is ranked fifth in the latest USTFCCCA South Region poll as they prepare for the NCAA South Regional Championships in Tallahassee, Fla., on Nov. 9.

    Kentucky

    Cally Macumber achieved a feat no other University of Kentucky Wildcat had accomplished in 23 years when she won the SEC Cross Country Championship in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday. Macumber, a cross country junior, took the race by a four-second margin with a time of 20:23.29. She became the second woman to win the SEC Championship in school history, after Valerie McGovern claimed the title in 1989. Macumber, a junior in cross country, now has a pair of individual race wins this season, to go along with a top-10 at all six meets the Wildcats have competed in this season. That includes four finishes inside the top two. Chelsea Oswald also medaled in the women’s individual race as she finished third with a time of 20:35.03. Oswald’s high finish extended her consecutive top-25 streak to five, dating to the first race of 2012. The UK women placed fifth overall, while the men finished sixth. Luis Orta was the first Wildcat to finish on the men’s side in 24:10.83 over 8K. Three Wildcats earned spots on the All-SEC Teams by virtue of their performances at the Conference Meet as Macumber and Oswald were named to the First Team, while Orta made the Second Team. Macumber and Oswald each received All-SEC honors for the second time in their careers. Orta, a senior, reached All-Conference status for the third time. Both the men’s and women’s teams added a top-25 finisher as Walter Luttrell earned a 23rd-place time of 24:33.32, and Allison Peare notched a 6K season-best 21:24.54 for 25th.

    LSU

    The Lady Tigers continued their streak of great performances when they placed seventh overall in last week SEC Championship meet, one of the highest finishes in school history. The women's team was once again led by senior Laura Carleton, who received All-SEC second team honors after the meet. On the men's side, although the Tigers finished 13th overall, the team improved their individual times on the course. Senior runner Roger Cooke, who has led the men all season, recorded a personal best for Percy Warner Park. After an impressive season, both the Tigers and Lady Tigers look forward to continuing post season competition when they travel to Fayetteville, Ark. for the NCAA South Central Regional meet on Friday, Nov. 9.  

    Ole Miss

    Men - Junior Max Holman was the first of the Ole Miss men to reach the finish line at the 2012 SEC Championships in Nashville, helping the team to a 10th-place result. He completed the 8K course with a time of 25:14.31, placing 44th. Sophomore Loren Newsom followed in 55th place and a time of 25:29.41. Freshman Seumas O'Reilly, senior Riley Young and junior Al Lowe rounded out the scoring for the men, all placing in the top 100. Freshman Ian Carter also participated in the meet. The Rebels are No. 15 in the South Region in this week’s USTFCCCA poll and will compete at the NCAA South Regional on Nov. 9 in Tallahassee, Fla. Last year, Martin Kirui placed 11th individually and the Rebel men tied for seventh as a team at the South Regional in Tuscaloosa. Ole Miss is looking to advance as a team to the NCAA Championships for the first time in school history. Women - Ole Miss continued its fine season by racing to its best finish in school history, earning fourth place at the 2012 SEC Championships in Nashville. Katie Breathitt led the team with a ninth-place finish, which marks the best individual finish in Ole Miss women's cross country history. The senior claimed All-SEC second team honors for her performance, becoming the second woman in program history to receive that distinction. The Lexington, Ky., native completed the 6K course with a personal-best time of 20:45.16. Fellow senior Anne Threlkeld raced to a personal-best 16th-place finish, just two spots shy of earning All-SEC honors. Junior Kayleigh Skinner followed in 21st place with a time of 21:19.39. Sophomore Haley Cutright was the next Rebel to reach the finish line, placing 33rd overall with a time of 21:34.35. Senior Kelsey Breathitt, Katie's twin sister, finished in 44th place. She finished the course with a time of 21:44.42. Junior Amy McCrory and sophomore Margaret Harkness also competed for the Rebels. Every member of the women's team finished with a personal-best time and came in the top 70 at the meet. The Rebels moved up to No. 4 in the South Region in this week’s USTFCCCA poll and will compete at the NCAA South Regional on Nov. 9 in Tallahassee, Fla. Last year, the Rebel women had their best regional showing in school history with a fourth-place effort in Tuscaloosa, Ala., led by Logan Waites (12th place) and Katie Breathitt (15th). Ole Miss is looking to advance to the NCAA Championships for the first time in school history.
     
    Mississippi State

    Predicted to finish 11th in the conference, the Mississippi State men's and women's cross country teams battled on Friday to finish above those slots. The Bulldog squads were successful at defying their predicted results, as they captured 10th- and eighth-place finishes at the 2012 SEC Cross Country Championships at Percy Warner Park in Nashville. With leadership from senior Renee Masterson (21:34.82, 34th) in the 6K and junior Cameron Vernier (25:09.38, 41st) in the 8K, the Lady Bulldogs totaled 259 points to finish 10th, while the men scored 237, finishing eighth. Following Masterson in MSU’s Top 5 were Katie Huston (21:46.47, 46th), Chloe Phillips (21:48.15, 49th), Jodie McGuff (22:02.63, 61st) and Fabienne Armhein (22:26.88, 83rd). Rounding out the men’s scores behind Vernier were John Valentine (25:20.95, 49th), Juan Sanchez (25:26.42, 50th), Philip Johnson (25:27.12, 51st) and Andrew Monaghan (25:37.75, 65th). After returning home, the MSU teams turn their focus to the NCAA South Regional held in Tallahassee, Fla., on Nov. 9.

    Missouri

    Men – The Mizzou Men took 3rd at their first SEC Championship meet on Friday, placing nine of their ten runners in the top 40 of the field.  Junior Hayden Legg led the way for the Tigers, placing 8th in 24:08 followed by senior Max Storms in 9th at 24:10.  Sophomore Bryant Blahnik was third for the black and gold, rounding out the Second Team All-SEC for the Tigers squad with an 11th place finish in 24:14.  Junior MeridSeleshi, 25th, and sophomore Sam Dickerson, 27th, finished out the scorers for the Missouri crew.  The Mizzou freshmen Joe McKenna, Evan Chiplock, and two-time Freshman of the Week Tyler Schneider all earned spots in the top five for the All-SEC Freshman Team, with 32nd, 35th, and 38th places, respectively.  Women – The Lady Tigers were once again led by senior Bailey Belvis, who earned 35th with a time of 21:35.  She was followed by sophomores Liz Reida, Courtney Brown, Courtney Wood, and freshman Sam Garrett, to take 13th overall.  Both teams are now back in training mode as they prepare for the Nov. 9 NCAA Midwest Regional in Springfield, MO, where the teams will compete for spots in the National Championship.

    South Carolina

    South Carolina put forth one of its best efforts of the season last Friday as it finished ninth at the 2012 SEC Championships at Percy Warner Park…The Gamecocks concluded the meet with a total of 256 points as it placed ahead of Mississippi State (10th), Alabama (11th), Tennessee (12th), Missouri (13th) and Auburn (14th)…The finish is the Gamecocks’ best at the SEC Championships since claiming ninth in 2009…All of South Carolina’s top five runners posted a personal record on the day…Carrying over her success from the regular season, freshman Kayla Lampe led the way again on Friday as she crossed the finish line in 13th place with a PR of 21:02.30, securing second team All-SEC honors and a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team. Lampe, a native of Downingtown, Pa, has been the Gamecocks top finisher in every race this season, including two wins…Senior Chelsea France was the next Gamecock to cross the finish line as she placed 23rd with a PR of 21:23.67. The time bested her mark of 21:26 from last year’s NCAA Southeast Regional…Freshman Mary Fouse was the eighth freshman overall to cross the finish line and just missed making the SEC All-Freshman Team, as only the top seven freshmen were honored…She finished 64th for the Gamecocks with a PR of 22:04.86…Sophomore Meredith Mill and junior Penny Boswell remained close throughout the race and crossed the finish line .20 of a second apart…Mill placed 85th with a PR of 22:28.31, while Boswell claimed 86th place with a PR of 22:28.51…Freshmen Christine Kent (23:09.76, 106th), Lisa Zimmer (23:26.79, 111th), Anna Todd (23:38.10, 117th) and Annie Grove (23:42.19, 119th) rounded out the Gamecock contingent…The Gamecocks will now turn their focus to the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships, which will be held on Nov. 9 at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, N.C. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

    Tennessee

    Making their third trip of the season to the state capital, the Tennessee cross country teams returned to Percy Warner Park for the 2012 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships on Friday. Led by sophomore Peter Okwera, the Vols posted a seventh place finish at the event with 217 total points. Okwera, who has led the Big Orange all season, finished sixth overall with a personal-best time of 24:04.97. In his first league title race, Okwera was earned All-SEC honors for his top-10 finish. It was the best finish for a Vol at the conference championships since Zach Sabatino finished sixth in 2005. UT's last top five was in 1998. Picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll, the Vols had three runners in the top 54. Juniors Jake Rainey and Jordan Chaney finished 53rd and 54th, respectively. The duo both posted their best performances of the season as Rainey came in at 25:29.03 and Chaney crossed the finish line in a personal-best 25:38.74. On the women's side,  junior Amber Zimmerman paced Tennessee for the first time this season with a PR of 21:30.68 to finish in 28th place. Senior Kelsey Kane continued her stellar campaign by besting her 6K mark in 21:48.51 to round out the top 50. Freshman Alexis Panisse - who had led the Lady Vols in every rave this season - finished in 59th place and one of the top seven freshman, earning her SEC All-Freshman honors. The Big Orange harriers will have a two week break before returning to competition at the NCAA South Regionals in Tallahassee, Fla., on Friday, Nov. 9.

    Texas A&M

    Men - Texas A&M crowned its first-ever SEC champion as Aggie senior Henry Lelei claimed the men’s individual title with a course record of 23:29.95 at Percy Warner Park in Nashville to take down the previous mark of 24:10.60. Lelei recorded the fifth fastest winning time in a SEC Championship race since the distance of 8,000 meters was used starting in 1986. Texas A&M tied fellow SEC newcomer Missouri for third place in team scoring with 80 points. The Aggies were very solid through their first four finishers, second to only defending champion Arkansas, as the trio of James Hodges (24:19.25), Isaac Spencer (24:24.63) and Stephen Curry (24:25.86) finished 15-17-18. C.J. Brown (24:45.88) completed the A&M scoring five in 29th place. The Aggies race in the NCAA South Central region next, facing Arkansas again along with long-time rival Texas, in Fayetteville, Ark., on November 9. Women –A young Aggie squad competing without NCAA 10,000m champion Natosha Rogers placed eighth in their first SEC endeavor, scoring 224 points as they were led by Amanda Jenkins (36th – 21:36.08). The next three A&M runners finished close together in places 41-42-48 with Hillary Montgomery (21:40.16), Gabby Salazar (21:41.44) and Shawn Dalglish (21:47.82). The fifth runner for the Aggies was Sophie Blake (60th – 22:02.34). The NCAA South Central region meet, where the Aggie women are ranked No. 5, is the next race for A&M.

    Vanderbilt

    Men - The Vanderbilt men's cross country team placed 12th at the 2012 SEC Championships, edging out LSU by 20 points to score a victory at the SEC Championships for the first time since 2009. The Commodores were led by sophomore John Ewing, who posted a time of 25:31.58 to finish 53rd. Ewing's time improved by more than a minute on his 8K run during the Commodore Classic. Matthew Cleveland finished 68th with a time of 25:58.10. Senior Alan Ash ran his final conference championship in 26:58.69 (103rd), Joel Jones finished 107th (27:06.33) while Nick French rounded out the scoring for Vanderbilt with 88 points and a time of 27:31.35. Next up for Vanderbilt is the NCAA South Regional on Friday, November 9, in Tallahassee, Fla. Women - The Vanderbilt women's cross country team used a pair of All-SEC performances to finish third at the 2012 SEC Cross Country Championships, held October 26 at Nashville's Percy Warner Park. Running on their home course, the Commodores saw freshman Hannah Jumper and senior Kristen Findley earn First and Second Team All-SEC honors, respectively. Jumper also earned All-Freshman honors and was the best rookie finisher in the race by 12 seconds, posting a 6K time of 20:41.72. Findley's time of 20:43.23 earned her an eighth place finish. Junior Liz Anderson missed All-SEC honors by 15 seconds and one position, finishing 15th in 21:21.26. Jordan White (37th; 21:36.55) and Allie Scalf (52nd, 21:55.43) rounded out the scoring for Vanderbilt. Next up is the NCAA South Regional, to be held Friday, November 9, in Tallahassee, Fla. The Commodores placed second at last year's regional, earning their first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships. Vanderbilt will enter the regional ranked third behind Florida State and Florida.