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    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook

    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook (Sept. 10, 2013)

    Alabama

    The Alabama cross country teams opened the 2013 season by winning the women's race and finishing second in the men's race in a dual meet with Samford at Veterans Park Saturday morning. The Crimson Tide women's team had an impressive season opener, taking the first seven places in the race of slightly more than two miles distance while dominating. Alabama finished perfect with 15 team points to Samford's 50. Alabama was led by Meropi Panagiotou's victory in a time of 11 minutes, 22.76 seconds, just slightly ahead of the Tide's Katelyn Greenleaf (11:22.88). Freshman Hilary Stafford had an impressive debut for Alabama to take third place (11:23.45) with Rebecca Stover fourth (11:27.81) and Abigail Tankersley fifth (11:28.62). The Tide men's team lost a close verdict to the Bulldogs in the 5-kilometer race, 29-30, despite executing their race plan by staying tightly pack to maximize scoring. but Samford was strong back in the pack and used that advantage to squeak past the Tide. The Tide men stayed together rather than racing out the last 200 meters. After opening at home, the Tide takes to the road for its next competition when both the men and women travel to the Iowa Classic in Iowa City on September 13.

    Arkansas

    Men - The No.5 Arkansas Razorback men’s cross country team picked up a pair of dual meet wins Friday. The Razorbacks recorded a perfect 15 points against Missouri for the win while they scored 18 points against Missouri Southern State. Junior Stanley Kebenei and senior Kemoy Campbell led the way for the meet and the Razorbacks, finishing with times of 20:09 and 20:10 respectively. To round out Arkansas’ perfect 15 points against Missouri, senior David Flynn crossed the finish line at 20:20, newcomer Gabe Gonzalez crossed at 20:28 and sophomore Cale Wallace clocked a time of 20:29. Additionally, senior Raymond Joseph rounded out the lead pack of Razorbacks crossing the line at 20:31 followed by Patrick Rono, Noah Findlay and Aiden Swain who crossed at 21:21, 21:40 and 22:00 minutes respectively. Women - The No. 9 Arkansas Razorback women’s cross country team recorded two perfect scores of 15 points against Missouri and Missouri Southern State on Friday. The Razorbacks were led by Senior Stephanie Brown who recorded her first collegiate cross country victory by crossing the line at the 13:39 mark. Alongside Brown, Dominique Scott helped lead the main pack of Razorbacks for the meet. Scott turned in a time of 13:39 followed closely by Diane Robison who finished at 13:41 and then three Razorbacks in Sandie Raines, Jessica Kamilos and Regan Ward each crossed the line in a pack at 13:51. Senior Paige Johnston rounded out the lead pack finishing in eight place with a time of 14:20. Missouri would total 49 points in the race while Missouri Southern picked up 50 to each finish behind the Razorbacks. After picking up a pair of wins on the weekend, the Razorbacks will prepare for their next meet later in September.

    Auburn

    The Auburn cross country teams opened the 2013 season with a first-place team finish on the men's side, while the women finished second at the Trojan Invite hosted by Troy University ... It was the fourth consecutive team title for the AU men at the Trojan Invite … Junior Francis Hernandez led the Tiger men with a first-place overall finish in the 5k run with a time of 16:10.62 … Auburn had five top-10 finishers as Jason Miller finished fourth (16:41.84), Andrew Scott was fifth (16:46.90), Reid McClenny took ninth (17:07.46) and Hunter Hayes claimed 10th (17:07.81) … The men tallied 27 total points to claim the team title, outdistancing second place South Alabama who had 34 points. Troy (74 pts) was third followed by Alabama State (100) … In her first collegiate race, freshman Veronica Eder was the top Auburn women's finisher in the 3k race, taking third place in a time of 10:55.59 … Fellow freshman Rachel Givens took fourth in 10:56.46 while Sage Blackwell finished 10th (11:09.90) Kristin Sheehan (11:22.34) finished 14th and Emily Stevens (11:32.18) was 20th to round out the Tigers' top-20 finishers … The Tigers will return to action Sept. 14 as they travel to Gainesville, Fla., to compete in the Mountain Dew Invite.

    Florida

    UF’s men’s and women’s cross country squads kicked off the 2013 campaign with team victories on both sides at the Western Carolina Invitational Aug. 30. Next up, the Gators will host the 25th Annual Mountain Dew Invitational Sept. 14. The Mountain Dew Invite will be the first of two UF-hosted meets in 2013, as Florida will additionally play host to the 2013 SEC Championships Nov. 1 at the Gators’ Mark Bostick Golf Course. Men - The UF men’s squad also claimed the team title at the WCU Invite, using 28 points and four top-six scorers to seal the deal. Senior Mark Parrish led the way for the Orange and Blue with the ninth individual event victory of his career at Florida. Juniors Jimmy Clark, Eddie Garcia and J.L. Hines placed third, fourth and sixth, respectively. Freshman Carlos Miranda rounded out UF’s scoring corps in 14th following his first collegiate 5K. On the men’s side, five different UF runners improved their 5K marks from last year’s WCU Invite, while three others ran the first 5Ks of their Gator careers. Like the women, Friday’s team title for the men marked the third straight year UF has opened its season with a team victory in Cullowhee at the Western Carolina Invite. Women - Florida’s women’s squad captured the team title at the Western Carolina Invitational for the third straight year to open the fall campaign. The Gators put together a stellar race, turning in a perfect 15-point team score after claiming the first five spots in the field. Seniors Agata Strausa and Shelby Hayes led the way in first and second, while sophomore Julie Macedo, freshman Taylor Tubbs and senior Stephanie Strasser rounded out UF’s third, fourth and fifth-place finishers. Strausa claimed her second individual victory as a Gator, while Tubbs was the top freshman finisher in the field. Three Gators clocked personal best two-miles, while four others ran the first two-mile race of their careers at UF.

    Georgia

    Georgia did not compete over the weekend.  Select Bulldogs will travel to Greenville, S.C., on Saturday, Sept. 14, to compete at the Furman Cross Country Invitational.

    Kentucky

    Kentucky cross country opened the season was idle the second week of the season after opening the 2013 campaign on Friday, Aug. 30 at the Belmont Opener in Nashville. The UK men defeated Vanderbilt, but lost to Tennessee and the women defeated Tennessee but dropped the dual to Vanderbilt. The UK women’s team was led by Cally Macumber who finished ninth with a time of 18:26.95. Allison Peare was 13th with a time of 18:36.44, and Anna Bostrom placed 16th with a time of 18:46.36. Macumber, Peare and Bostrom were all All-Southeast Region selections in 2012. The Wildcats were led by Matt Hillenbrand’s fifth place finish (15:52.75) on the men’s side. Hillenbrand covered the Percy Warner Park course in 15:52.75 to earn a top-4 finishing spot. Sophomore transfer Zack Beavin was the No. 2 Wildcat finisher, as he placed 14th with a time of 16:14.66. Kentucky’s next meet will be the program’s first regular season home meet in more than a decade. UK hosted the SEC Championships in 2007. The Bluegrass Cross Country Invitational will be held at Masterson Station Park on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 9:30 a.m. ET.

    LSU

    LSU’s cross country teams will open up the 2013 season on Saturday, Sept. 14, with a trip to Gainesville, Fla., to run the course at the Mark Bostick Golf Course at the Mountain Dew Invitational hosted by the University of Florida. When the Tigers and Lady Tigers open up the season, they will be led by a new coach as two-time Olympian Khadevis Robinson has joined Dennis Shaver’s staff as an assistant coach directing the cross country teams in the fall and the middle distance and distance groups on the track during the 2014 indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. Robinson joins the LSU staff in place of Mark Elliott, who was recently named the new director of track and field at Clemson University this summer. Robinson served in the same capacity at UNLV in 2011-12 and Ohio State in 2012-13 prior to his arrival in Baton Rouge this month. Robinson is also one of the most decorated middle distance runners in the history of USA Track & Field as an eight-time U.S. champion in the 800 meters following a brilliant collegiate career at TCU where he was crowned the 1998 NCAA Outdoor champion. He has also represented the United States at the Olympic Games in 2004 in Athens, Greece, and 2012 in London, England.

    Ole Miss

    Men - Ole Miss, ranked eighth in the South Region in the preseason USTFCCCA poll, began the 2013 campaign at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic. Competing without a couple of the team’s top runners, the Rebels turned in a fifth-place result in the 4-mile event and were led by sophomore Ian Carter, who posted a fourth-place finish of 21:35.76, and freshman Arman Rehmann, who placed eighth in 21:55.22. Other runners included freshman Jon Luke Watts, senior Max Holman, freshman Will Spiers, freshman Ben Pleak, junior Ryan Smith and senior Alex Nichols. The meet was delayed due to heat and the running did not end until approximately 11:30 p.m. Ole Miss will next head to Nashville, Tenn., for the Commodore Classic on Sept. 14. Women - The Ole Miss women, who entered the season ranked fifth in the South Region in the preseason USTFCCCA poll, placed second in their season debut at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic. An all-freshman Lady Rebel contingent in the 5K event was led by the duo of Karlie Garcia, who finished third overall with a time of 17:32.72, and Sophie Linn, who finished seventh overall with a time of 18:03.80. Saga Barzowski finished 11th (18:23.41), Annie Kelly was 15th (18:35.35) and Haley Ward was 17th (18:41.28) as the Rebels had five runners finish top 20. The meet was delayed due to heat and the running did not end until approximately 11:30 p.m. The prospects are high for the Rebel women this season as returning leaders Kayleigh Skinner and Haley Cutright will guide the talented freshman class in hopes of improving on their fourth-place SEC finish a year ago, which was the best in program history. Ole Miss will next head to Nashville, Tenn., for the Commodore Classic on Sept. 14.

    Mississippi State

    Following a two-week break from competition, the Mississippi State cross country squads will travel to Nashville for the Commodore Classic on Sept. 14. The Bulldogs saw men’s and women’s Top 5 finishes at last year’s Vanderbilt-hosted event. In 2012, the MSU women captured a fourth-place finish with 117 points, while the men totaled 183 points to finish fifth in a 24-team field. Coach Houston Franks’ teams are coming off a sweep of wins after dominating the competition at the Twilight Classic in Memphis on Aug. 31. Action is slated to begin Saturday at 9 a.m. at Percy Warner Park. After returning home from Nashville, the Maroon and White squads will continue their campaign on Sept. 28 at the Charlotte Invitational in Charlotte, N.C.

    Missouri

    Missouri hit the road for the first time this season on Friday, making the trek down to Fayetteville to match up against the Univ. of Arkansas.  It was a good showing for the Tiger men and women as both teams demonstrated the talent of their young athletes.  The women kicked off the evening at 6:00 p.m. with a 4k race.  Leading the way for the Tigers was freshman Kaitlyn Fischer, who's 14:01 final time was one of the fastest times by a non-Arkansas athlete on that course.  She was followed by fellow-freshman Kaitlyn Balch, sophomore Sam Garrett, junior Courtney Brown, and freshman Brooke Wolfe in 14:40 to hold a 39-second 1-5 gap.  The men's 6600-meter race followed at 6:30 p.m., where sophomore Evan Chiplock led the tight top five pack, crossing in 20:31.3.  He was followed by fellow-sophomore Tyler Schneider, senior Hayden Legg, freshman Dan Roe, and sophomore Kenny Cushing for a ten-second 1-5 gap.  The Tigers now focus back on training for three weeks before making the trip up to Minneapolis for the September 8th Roy Griak Invitational.

    South Carolina

    The Gamecocks captured the team title at the Gamecock Invitational #1, getting a strong performance from sophomore Anna Todd in the process. The Spartanburg, S.C., native posted her best 5K time as a collegiate (19:04.26) in coming back to win the individual title. She closed a gap in the home stretch, sprinting to a near two-second win over the second-place finisher. Junior Alex Mullin and freshman Sarah Falta both posted sub-20:00 times in the outing as well, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively. Both improved their time from the previous week, with Mullin making a near minute jump. The Gamecocks head to Gainesville, Fla., for the Mountain Dew Invite, which is held on the same course as the 2013 SEC Championships.

    Tennessee

    The Tennessee men's and women's cross country teams got their seasons underway at the Belmont Opener in Nashville, Tenn. Both teams are back in action Sept. 14 at the Gator Cross Country Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. Men – Peter Okwera earned his first collegiate race victory at the Belmont Opener. With a sprint to the finish line, Okwera held off Belmont's Matt Miller to win the extended 5k in 15:41.85. The Vols had five runners place in the top 20: Okwera (1), Kyle Walter (6), Stephen Derlath (9), Austin Whitelaw (15), J.R. Creekmore (19). Women -- Freshman Emily Williams led the UT women in her career debut, finishing 17th at Belmont in 18:49.05. Sophomore Alexis Panisse was 28th.

    Texas A&M

    The second meet of the season will have the Aggies traveling to Houston for the Rice Invitational held on Friday, Sept. 13. Texas A&M is the defending team champion in both the men’s and women’s competition as each bettered a field of a dozen teams from the South Central region last year with the Aggie men scoring 37 points while the women totaled 42. Isaac Spencer is the top returner among the A&M men, having placed fifth last season on a course just short of 6,000 meters. Sophie Blake led the Aggie women in last year’s race with a runner-up finish on the nearly 4,000-meter course.

    Vanderbilt

    The Vanderbilt's men's and women's cross country team opened the season at the Belmont Opener. Running on their home course at Percy Warner Park the women's team claimed second in the team competition with five Commodores finishing in the top 15. Sophomore Vanessa Valentine led the way running 18:25.20 over the 5K course. Freshman Courtney Kriegshauser was the second Dore across the line in her first collegiate race. On the men's side, freshman Jake Van Geffen paced the squad with a time of 16:52.84. Both of Vanderbilt's teams return to action September 14 back at Percy Warner Park for the Commodore Classic.