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    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook

    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook (Sept. 24, 2013)

    Alabama

    The Crimson Tide continues the 2013 season on Saturday, October 5, at the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa., hosted by Lehigh ... it will be the largest meet of the season thus far for Alabama, as more than 20 colleges are expected to compete ... the Tide women are ranked seventh (same as last week) in the current USTFCCCA South Region Rankings while the Tide men's team is 11th in the region (up from 12th last week) ... Alabama has competed in two events so far this fall and has posted a pair of team victories in the women's races and two runner-up showings by the men's team ... in Alabama's most recent meet on Sept. 13, the Tide women earned their second consecutive team victory to start the season while the men’s team took second place in the team race at the Iowa Invitational at the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City ... Alabama took women’s team honors with a meet-low 35 points to outpace Iowa State’s 44. Baylor was third with 51 and Iowa finished fourth with 97. In the men’s race, Iowa finished with 18 points to easily defeat Alabama (53) and Iowa State (57) ... the Crimson Tide women's team had an impressive performance for the second consecutive meet to open the season as sophomore Katelyn Greenleaf led a tightly-packed group of runner to the finish line ... Greenleaf was Alabama’s first finisher, taking second place in a time of 13 minutes, 59 seconds, just 1.1 second behind Baylor’s Rachel Johnson, who won the individual title in 13:56.28 ... freshman Hilary Stafford was third in 13:59.52 with sophomore Kimberley Ficenec taking ninth for Alabama (14:28.36), an impressive improvement for Ficenec who has been primarily a force on the track in the 800 meters up to this point in her career ... sophomore Meropi Panagiotou was 10th (14:29.55) with freshman Hannah Waggoner 11th (14:30.05) to close out five Tide runners scoring in the top 11 overall ... in the men’s event, three Crimson Tide runners placed in the top 10 scoring places overall, led by a sixth-place finish by junior Matt Airola who traversed the six-kilometer course in 18:57.75 ... sophomore Gil Walton was ninth in 19:00.25 and sophomore Justin Ahalt was 10th in 19:01.17 ... other Alabama scorers were sophomore Parker Deuel in 13th (19:03.97) and freshman Conner Thompson in 16th (19:14.04).

    Arkansas

    Men - Highlighted by junior Stanley Kebenei winning his second race of the young season, the No. 5 Arkansas men’s cross country team placed second at the Southern Stampede Cross Country Invitational on Saturday.  Kebenei cruised to the finish line with a time of 23:52.75. Senior Raymond Joseph was not too far behind, crossing at 24:20.86 to place second for the meet. Arkansas would have two more runners in the top-10 in sophomore Cale Wallace who finished with a time of 25:16.65 and freshman Aidan Swain finished with a time of 25:40.62 to place ninth for the meet. The Razorbacks scored 32 points for the meet, just one point back of the winning team Oklahoma. Arkansas was able to place ahead of No. 6 Tulsa, which scored 58 points. The Razorbacks return to the course in two weeks on Saturday, Oct. 5, for the Chile Pepper Festival. The festival will be held at Agri Park in Fayetteville. Women - Led by sophomore Dominique Scott, the No. 10 Arkansas women's cross country team took the first eight spots across the finish line to record the team’s third perfect score of 15 points on the season and win the 69th Annual Aztec Cross Country Invitational. Scott paced the pack of Razorbacks to the finish line when she crossed at 17:33 followed shortly by seven teammates. Juniors Grace Heymsfield and Shannon Klenke were the next to finish at 17:34 and 17:38, respectively. Freshman Sandie Raines followed suit in fourth place with a time of 17:42, just in front of Diane Robison who crossed at 17:54 to complete the Razorbacks perfect score with a fifth place finish. The Razorbacks picked up a pair of perfect scores in the season opener against Missouri and Missouri Southern in the Arkansas duals meet. The Razorbacks return to the course in two weeks on Saturday, Oct. 5, for the Chile Pepper Festival. The festival will be held at Agri Park in Fayetteville.

    Auburn

    The Auburn men's and women's cross country each won team titles at the Georgia State Invite at the Nash Farm Battlefield Park on Sept. 20, marking both team’s second team titles of the season. The men won their season opener at the Troy Invite, while the Tiger women tied for first at the Mountain Dew Invite on Sept 14. Junior Ty McCormick won the men's 8K race at the Georgia State Invite in 25:20.64, while Niklas Buhner (25:27.93) claimed second place. On the women's side, freshmen Rachel Givens (14:25.86) and Veronica Eder (14:30.40) were second and third, respectfully over the 4K course.  All seven of the Auburn women’s runners competing at the Georgia Invite established new PRs at the distance. The group included Eder, Givens, Ericka Kolakowski, Kristin Sheehan, Emily Stevens, Rebecca Nylen and Madeline Sharp. Both the Auburn men and will return to action Sept. 28 at the Panorama Bridge Invite in Charlottesville, Va.

    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 before playing host to the Mountain Dew Invitational Sept. 14. Florida’s men claimed the Mountain Dew team title for the eighth time in nine years (33 pts), while the women finished third overall (76 pts). Next up, the Gators will compete at the FL Runners Invitational (men) on Sept. 27 and the Disney Cross Country Classic (women) on Oct. 12 before heading to the Wisconsin adidas Invite Oct. 19. Florida will additionally play host to the 2013 SEC Championships Nov. 1 at UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course. Men - Junior Jimmy Clark cruised to a personal-best 8k mark to take top honors in the men’s race at the Mountain Dew Invite, helping lead UF to the team title (33 points) for the eighth time in the last nine years. Clark clocked the fourth-fastest 8k ever run at Mark Bostick Golf Course and helped the Gators to their second invitational title of the 2013 season. Senior Mark Parrish was close behind in second, while juniors Eddie Garcia and JL Hines scored third and fourth. Freshman Carlos Miranda was the fifth Gator scorer and top freshman finisher in the field. A total of seven men’s runners clocked personal-best marks at UF’s home invitational. Women - Senior Agata Strausa paced the Florida women at the Mountain Dew Invite Sept. 14 with a second-place finish in the field of 270 women’s participants. Florida took third (76 points) overall in the team standings. Strausa has now scored second or better for the Gators in five meets after coming on as a junior in 2012. Sophomore Julie Macedo ran a personal-best 6k at the Mountain Dew, while freshman Taylor Tubbs and junior Macy Huskey ran their first 6ks as Gators. Strausa, Macedo, Tubbs, Huskey and senior Brittany Koziara composed UF’s scoring contingent.  

    Georgia

    Georgia continued its training and will compete at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn., on Saturday, September 28.

    Kentucky

    Kentucky cross country took another step forward as a program two weeks ago as the Wildcats hosted their first home meet since the 2007 SEC Championships. Cally Macumber highlighted the day with one of the nation’s leading performances in 2013. The defending SEC and Southeast Region Champion won the meet with a SEC-leading 5k time of 16:32.10. Macumber crossed the finish line 26 seconds ahead of her nearest rival in a field, which included No. 21 Oklahoma State and a 2012 Outdoor 5k All-American. For her efforts, Macumber was named National Athlete of the Week by USTFCCCA. Macumber was quickly followed by fellow-senior Allison Peare who impressed in her first-ever home collegiate meet with a third-place personal best time of 17:11.08. Adam Kahleifeh enjoyed a breakout performance on the men’s side with a 8k PR time 24:11.70. Matt Hillenbrand was UK’s No. 2 finisher with a 14th place time 24.26.56. Kentucky will return to competition on Sept. 28, 2013 for the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla.

    LSU

    Due to severe weather in Baton Rouge, the LSU Invitational that was set to be held on Saturday morning at Highland Road Park was canceled. The meet will not be rescheduled.  This comes after six Tigers and two Lady Tigers achieved new personal bests at the Mountain Dew Invitational held on Sept. 14. Along with team-best junior Philip Primeaux (25:41.64), junior Philip Dempsey (27:10.84), sophomore Aaron Koenck (27:31.99), junior Bryan Mutell (27:18.44), sophomore Travis Pope (26:26.83) and junior William Wiesler (26:17.57) all achieved this feat in the men’s 8k, while junior Michelle Mobley (25:23.26) and sophomore Morgan Schuetz (23:53.81) also conquered their previous bests in the women’s 6k. The Tigers and Lady Tigers will remain in Louisiana for another week, heading to Lake Charles to compete in the McNeese Cowboy Stampede on Sept. 28. The meet will be held at Enos Darbonne Recreation Complex.

    Ole Miss

    Men – Ole Miss continued its 2013 campaign at the Commodore Classic in Nashville two weeks ago. The Rebels turned in an 11th-place finish led by sophomore Ian Carter, who placed 24th with a time of 25:39.06 in the 8K. Other runners included junior Max Holman, freshman Jon Luke Watts, junior Ryan Smith, freshman Trevor Gilley and freshman Will Spiers. Ole Miss will head to Earlysville, Virginia to compete in the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational on September 28. Women – Ole Miss sent out the veteran Rebels two weeks ago at the Commodore Classic and were not disappointed. The Ole Miss women placed third overall. It was the season debut for junior Haley Cutright, senior Amy McCrory, junior McKenna Coughlin and senior Kayleigh Skinner. Cutright led the Lady Rebels with a runner-up finish with a personal-best cross country 5K time of 17:09.58. Rebel freshman Annie Kelly improved her time by almost a minute from her opening meet in Memphis two weeks ago with a 17:43.73 to finish 17th individually. The Rebels look forward to the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational on September 28, where all the runners will combine to run in a meet for the first time this season.

    Mississippi State

    Following a two-week break from competition, the Mississippi State cross country squads will travel to Charlotte, N.C., for the Charlotte Invitational on Sept. 28. The event, hosted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, will kick off with the women’s 6K on Saturday at 8:30 a.m., followed by the men’s 8K at 9 a.m. at McAlpine Creek Park. The Bulldogs are coming off top finishes at the Commodore Classic on Sept. 14, where the men recorded a second-place finish in the 8K to top conference foe Ole Miss. At the Vanderbilt-hosted meet, the Lady Bulldogs earned a fourth-place finish in the 5K. The Maroon and White teams are led by senior veterans John Valentine and Juan Sanchez, while the women look to the young Cornelia Griesche to pace the squad. After this weekend’s showing in the Queen City, MSU will prepare for the Crimson Classic on Oct. 18 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

    Missouri

    The University of Missouri is back on the road this weekend, traveling up to Minneapolis, MN, for Saturday's Roy Griak Invitational.  The men will kick the day off at the Les Bolstad Golf Course with the Merrill Fischbein Gold Division 8k at 12:20 pm, followed by the women's Jack Johnson Gold Division 6k at 1:10 pm.

    South Carolina

    The Gamecocks finished fourth in the 25th-annual Mountain Dew Invitational at the University of Florida, a strong showing for South Carolina. Two Gamecocks finished in the top 15, led by junior Meredith Mill's seventh-place showing. Her time of 21:39.34 improved her previous-best 6K time by over 45 seconds. Freshman Mary Reiser stayed with Mill for the first 5,000 meters before finishing 12th in her first 6K with a 21:55.00 clocking. Two other returning Gamecock sophomores (Anna Todd, 23rd, 22:20.50 and Stephanie Berger, 49th, 23:02.35) improved their times by over 40 seconds, while freshmen Martha McCoy (42nd, 22:43.77) and Melanie Ng (54th, 23:06.93) both ran well in their first collegiate 6K outings. The Gamecocks race in another packed field this week at the 28th-annual Roy Griak Invitational hosted by Minnesota.

    Tennessee

    The Tennessee men's and women's cross country teams put together solid performances in their second meet of the season at the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. The women finished in a tie with Auburn for first place, while the men took third. Men – Peter Okwera was fifth and Stephen Derlath was not far behind in sixth to lead the Vols on the 8k course. Okwera finished in a time of 24:27.98. All five of the Vols' scorers finished in the top 21. Kyle Walter was 11th. Both teams run at the Louisville Classic on Oct. 5. Women – Sophomore Alexis Panisse led the way for the Lady Vols in the 6k race, scoring her first top-10 finish of the year by placing fifth in 21:33.37. Freshman Emily Williams got another top-20 finish to start her career, taking 11th in 21:52.05. The Lady Vols' five fastest runners placed in the top 29.

    Texas A&M

    The Aggies, with the women No. 3 and the men No. 4 in South Central region rankings, were idle this past week and will be again this weekend prior to competing at the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic held on Saturday, October 5. The site of the meet is the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky, which hosted the 2012 NCAA Championships. The large field of teams, separated into three races, is scheduled to include SEC teams Kentucky (Southeast: Men - No. 15, Women – No. 7), Tennessee (South: Men - No. 7, Women – No. 11), and Vanderbilt (South: Women – No. 2) along with Arkansas State, Ball State, East Tennessee State, Eastern Kentucky (Southeast: Men - No. 1, Women – No. 6 ), Georgia Tech (South: Men - No. 4, Women – No. 11), Louisville (Southeast: Men - No. 7, Women – No. 8), Marquette, Middle Tennessee, Murray State, South Alabama, Southeast Missouri State, and Western Kentucky.

    Vanderbilt

    The No. 20 Vanderbilt women's team ran away from the field two weeks ago at the Commodore Classic at Percy Warner Park winning the team race with four runners in the top 10 and scoring 38 points in topping Lipscomb (65 points) and Ole Miss (83 points). The Commodores went straight to the front at the beginning of the race and did not back off the gas over the 5K course with a pack of black and gold runners at the front. Redshirt freshman Lily Williams, making her cross country debut for the Dores, led the way for Vandy running 17:25.73 to place fifth overall. Sophomore Hannah Jumper (17:31.47) and freshman Carmen Carlos (17:32.36) were right behind Williams placing sixth and seventh. Juniors Rebecca Chandler (17:36.28) and Claire Benjamin (17:37.80) rounded out the Commodores' scoring finishing ninth and 11th, respectively. In the men's race, the Commodores ran a solid race with junior John Ewing leading the way in the team's 13th place finish among the 19 Division I teams. Ewing covered the 8K course in 26:08.70 for 50th place overall. The women return to action at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn. The men return to racing action at the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky.