COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind another strong top-10 performance from junior Meredith Mill, South Carolina finished fourth in the team standings at the 25th-annual Mountain Dew Invitational hosted by the University of Florida.
In the Gamecocks’ first 6K race of the fall, Mill paced the squad with a 21:39.34 clocking, over 45 seconds better than her top collegiate 6K entering the day. Underclassmen took over the scoring from there, with freshmen Mary Reiser finishing 12th overall with a 21:55 mark. Sophomore Anna Todd, who competed in her third race in three weekends, finished third on the team and 23rd in the field of 270 competitors in 22:20.50, a 1:10 improvement from last year.
“We ran well,” said Gamecock assistant track coach over cross country Andrew Allden. “We would have liked to beat more SEC teams,” “but we were pleased to have two people in the top 12. This was Mary’s first ever 6K, and she basically stuck with Meredith for three miles and hung in till the end. Meredith continued to work her way through the field and finished a strong seventh. Anna built upon her win last week with another good outing.”
Freshman Martha McCoy (42nd, 22:43.77) and sophomore Stephanie Berger (49th, 23:02.35) both came in in the top 50 and closed out the scoring. Berger also improved her best time from a year ago by over 40 seconds. Freshman Melanie Ng (54th, 23:06.93) fell just outside the Gamecocks’ top five, while sophomore Christine Kent (62nd, 23:12.26) took the last points from other teams.
The Gamecocks ranked fourth behind fellow Southeastern Conference schools Tennessee and Auburn, who tied in the team standings, and the host Gators. USF came in fifth, 45 points in back of the Gamecocks. Allden mentioned how the freshmen did a good job handling the large field and the longer distance, and he was pleased with the team’s first look at the SEC Championship course.
Senior Penny Boswell (64th, 23:21.65), freshman Sarah Falta (67th, 23:23.24), sophomore Brandy Wybersky (68th, 23:24.27), freshman Brittany Day (70th, 23:24.93) and sophomore Allie Whitley (73rd, 23:31.73) all finished in the top 75. Junior Alex Mullin (88th, 23:54.86) and sophomore Courtney Swink (108th, 24:22.47) rounded out South Carolina’s finishers.
The Gamecocks have next weekend off before competing in the 28th-annual Roy Griak Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota.
Georgia Tunes Up at Furman Classic
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Resting their top four or five in preparation for the Roy Griak Invitational in two weeks, Georgia’s cross country teams battled the field at the inaugural Furman Cross Country Classic in Greenville, S.C., on Saturday morning.
The Lady Bulldogs finished fourth at the meet with 63 points while Furman (48) edged Emory (50) for the victory. Clemson finished one spot ahead of Georgia with 62 points.
The Georgia men finished fifth out of nine teams after scoring 146 points.
Junior Carly Hamilton posted her first collegiate cross country victory after clocking a 20:25.53 on the 6k course. This marked the seventh consecutive meet that Hamilton has had the top finish in meets she has run in for the Lady Bulldogs.
Hamilton, who was a 2013 All-American and SEC champion on the track, missed the season-opening Georgia Cross Country Invitational with an illness.
“I’m very happy with the start that Carly had for us,” said Bulldog distance coach Patrick Cunniff. “She is close to the level she was at near the end of last season and that’s exactly where we wanted her to be.”
Senior Savannah Kirk was the second Georgia runner across the line after registering a time of 21:30.11 for seventh place. Another pair of Lady Bulldogs went 16th and 17th to make up Georgia’s next two scorers. Freshman Morgan Ainslie and junior Brooke Koblitz came across the finish line back-to-back with times of 21:52.85 and 21:54.43, respectively.
“I thought Savannah ran a very nice race and hopefully will place herself in our top five as the season goes on,” Cunniff said. “We have the potential to have a deep crew on the women’s side, this group has to just keep moving up and improving.”
Freshman Jenn Cora, who was 11th last weekend, broke into the scoring ranks this week with a 22nd-place finish (21:57.89).
In the men’s 8k, junior Steven Spevacek led the Bulldogs for the first time in his career after taking 22nd. Spevacek crossed the finish line in 24:45.37 and was one spot in front of second-year freshman Morgan Malanoski. Malanoski, running in only his second collegiate meet as a Bulldog, was 23rd after clocking a 24:46.10.
“Our men had solid performances and will continue to develop as the year goes on,” said Cunniff. “Hopefully they will look to take the lead of our top five and get faster and faster.
“Steven and Morgan showed me today that they can hang with a lead group in a race. Our top five is very solid and I think this pair and others can add to our depth.”
Also racing in only his second collegiate meet, true freshman Brad Hort managed a 32nd-place finish after rounding the final turn at the Furman Golf Club in 25:03.02. Second-year freshman Trevor Grant completed the Georgia scorers after finishing 35th (25:05.42).
Junior Brendan Hoban was the fifth finisher for the Bulldogs after taking 42nd with a time of 25:19.90.
Georgia returns to action in Minneapolis, Minn., for the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, September 28. This meet is a traditional competition for some of the nation’s top talent.
Gators XC In Action for Both Men and Women
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In front of an Orange & Blue-clad crowd at UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course, junior Jimmy Clark cruised to an individual victory in the men’s college 8k race, leading the Gator men’s squad to its eighth Mountain Dew Invitational title in the last nine years. In women’s action, senior Agata Strausa paced Florida with a second-place finish in the 6k competition as UF checked in third in the women’s team standings to cap off the 25th Annual MDI Saturday.
In the highly competitive meet, which served as a preview to the 2013 SEC Championships in Nov., three Southeastern Conference squads rounded out the top three team finishers on the men’s side as Florida posted 33 points for first, while Auburn (50) and Tennessee (55) checked in second and third. Auburn (71) and Tennessee (71) tied for the team lead on the women’s side, while the Gators racked up 76 points for their third-place finish.
• Clark notched the seventh top-10 finish of his career at Florida with a college-best 23:53.78, the fourth-fastest 8k ever run at the Mark Bostick Golf Course
• Close behind Clark, senior Mark Parrish finished second, while Eddie Garcia, JL Hines and Carlos Miranda scored third, fourth and fifth for Florida after crossing fourth, ninth and 20th, respectively, in men’s action
• In addition to Clark, Garcia notched a career-best mark, Miranda ran his first collegiate 8k and Elliot Clemente, Harsha Torke, Mac Reynolds and Mark Mutz all ran college-best 8k marks Saturday
• On the women’s side, sophomore Julie Macedo ran a Florida-best mark in the 6k competition, while freshman Taylor Tubbs and junior Macy Huskey each ran their first Mountain Dew 6ks as Gators
• Strausa, Macedo, Tubbs, Huskey and senior Brittany Koziara counted as UF’s five scorers on the women’s side, finishing second, 14th, 18th and 51st in the field of 270 collegiate women’s athletes
LSU Cross Country Teams Post Top-10 Finishes In Season Opener
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The LSU men's and women's cross country teams posted solid performances while opening their 2013 season this Saturday at Florida’s Mountain Dew Invitational held at Mark Bostic Golf Course.
Their season-opening race served as a preview to the SEC Championship, which will be held at the same course.
“When I ask my team to train harder, that’s what we need to do to be competitive with other teams around the nation,” said cross country coach Khadevis Robinson after the meet. “This week we are going to put some work in and go to the next race. We are going to use every race in preparation to go to conference and give our best performance at conference.”
The men finished eighth out of 26 teams and were led by junior runner Philip Primeaux, who posted a time of 25 minutes, 41.64 seconds for 35th place in the 8k race.
“It was a golf course, so the short grass and good packed ground helped me run fast,” Primeaux explained. “It wasn’t too hilly and that’s where the SEC Championship will be held. I think it’s a fine course. I think the best thing about running a course before going to a championship is being able to get an idea of the landmarks, of where you are in the race.”
Other top finishers for the Tigers include junior William Wiesler in 55th place at 26:17.57 and sophomore Travis Pope in 60th place at 26:26.83.
On the women's side, sophomore Andria Aguilar was the 20th overall runner to finish. Her team-best time of 22:15.69 boosted the Lady Tigers to a team finish of 10th place out of 24 teams.
“We’ve been doing a lot more core exercises, going out in the weight room and putting in miles over the summer,” Aguilar said. “Everybody really stepped up. Our second girl to finish [Jenna Walker] was a freshman and she did really well.”
The Tigers and Lady Tigers return to action in Baton Rouge to host the LSU Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 21. The meet will take place at Highland Road Park. The women's 6k will begin at 8:05 a.m. CDT and the men’s 8k will begin at 9:15 a.m.
Follow the LSU men's and women's cross country teams on Twitter by following @LSUTrackField and on Facebook by liking LSU Track & Field.
UK's Cally Macumber Wins Blue Grass Invitational
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Cally Macumber got back to winning ways, claiming Kentucky’s first home cross country meet since the 2007 Southeastern Conference Championships, with a Bluegrass Invitational 5,000-meter winning time of 16:32.11 on Saturday at Masterson Station Park.
“Today was a great day for our athletes to perform on home-terrain where they know the course in front of their friends and family,” head coach Edrick Floreal said. “We were proud of the way both the men’s and women’s teams performed. It’s always great to see Cally win a race, and I was also impressed with how Adam Kahleifeh stepped up on the men’s side.”
Macumber was quickly followed by fellow-senior Allison Peare who impressed in her first-ever home collegiate meet with a third-place time of 17:11.08.
Both seniors’ top-3 performances helped lead Kentucky to a third-place team finish as UK was just nine points from EKU’s winning score of 48.
“I’m really happy that Cally has returned to form,” women’s distance coach Hakon DeVries said. “To have a new home meet out here where Cally takes the first title is exciting. Allison Peare ran great and the team overall ran solidly.
“We have a long season and we have been training really hard. There’s a lot more ahead. The team has set some pretty big goals in terms of what the team wants to do so it’s time to get back to work.”
Kahleifeh also enjoyed his first home cross country meet as a Wildcat, placing eighth with a 8k time of 24:11.70 to cross the line as the top-Wildcat. Matt Hillenbrand finished 14th with a time of 24:26.56.
The UK men’s team placed fourth in the team competition on 111 points as EKU won the meet with 34 points.
“I was pleased with the performance,” men’s cross country coach Sean Graham said. “We had some very strong runners up front. Matt (Hillenbrand) and Adam (Kahleifeh) worked together well at the beginning and Adam really got after it late in the race when he moved forward very well. The middle pack of guys also worked well together getting in a group and moving forward together.
“The majority of our guys had 8k personal bests today so we are at a good starting point. We will continue to work as we prepare to race with some high-caliber competition going forward. We brought in some top-teams to this meet and we stayed with them for a long time even though they got us at the end.”
Sophomore Zack Beavin placed 22nd in 24:47.93, Spencer Hrycay was 32nd (31 pts) in 25:13.72 and Jared Phillips was 38th (36 pts) in 25:28.00 to round out the UK men’s top-5 finishers that scored points in the team competition.
The UK women’s team’s other top-5 scoring finishers were Taylor Wendler, who was 14th in 17:35.28, Cassidy Hale with a 16th-place time of 17:36.56 and Anna Bostrom, who earned 23 points with a 24th-place time of 17:58.34.
Bostrom received 23 points as former UK cross country runner and current track and field senior Hiruni Wijayaratne placed ahead of her, but didn’t receive points because she was competing unattached. UK newcomer Lauren Kahre also ran unattached, placing 32nd with a time of 18:20.26.
Kentucky will return to competition on Sept. 28, 2013 for the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla.
Ole Miss Women Place Third At Commodore Classic
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ole Miss’ veteran women’s runners ran in their first race of the 2013 cross country season at the Commodore Classic on Saturday, and they did not disappoint.
Junior Haley Cutright led the Rebel women with a second-place finish in the 5K race with a time of 17:09.58, helping Ole Miss to a third-place team finish. Cutright finished just half a second behind the meet champion Brooke Cassar of Central Arkansas.
Freshman Annie Kelly improved upon her meet time in Memphis by an entire minute this week in Nashville. She finished 16th with a time of 17:43.73.
“It was a good opener for Haley. It was also her best finish in a cross country race in her career. I was pleased to see us pack it up with the lead group for a majority of the race. Coming into this meet without our top 3 runners from last year and to pick up almost from where we left off last season is good. I’m excited with how this group is progressing.” head coach Brian O’Neal said.
The Lady Rebels finished third overall behind Vanderbilt and Lipscomb. Other notable finishes for Ole Miss included an 18th-place finish for freshman Sophie Linn (17:46.22), a 20th-place showing by senior Amy McCrory (17:47.86) and a 28th-place result for junior McKenna Coughlin (18:02.98).
The Rebel men were led by sophomore Ian Carter with a 24th-place finish in 25:39.06. Junior Max Holman followed in 25:54.72, and freshman Jon Luke Watts was next in 26:08.99. Freshman Trevor Gilley made his collegiate debut and finished in 27:18.42.
Ole Miss finished 11th overall in the team standings.
“Our men competed strong. We ran without 3 of our top guys and we’re obviously better when we have our core group with us.” O’Neal said.
Ole Miss’ next meet is in Earlysville, Virginia for the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational on September 28.