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    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook

    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook (Oct. 1, 2013)


    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 ... 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).


    Men - The No. 5 men’s cross country team spent the week preparing for the 25th Annual Chile Pepper Festival, which will be held at Agri Park in Fayetteville, Ark. on Saturday, Oct. 5. Junior Stanley Kebenei has led the Razorbacks so far during the season collecting three Runner of the Week awards including being named the SEC Runner of the Week on two separate occasions as well as being named the USTFCCCA National Runner of the Week for Division I, for his performance at the Southern Stampede where he finished more than 28 seconds in front of the rest of the field. The men’s 8K is slated for a 9:45 a.m. start on Saturday. Women - The No. 10 women’s cross country team took a week off of competition to prepare for the 25th Annual Chile Pepper Festival. So far, two Razorbacks have been name SEC Runners of the Week in senior Stephanie Brown for her win in the Arkansas Duals meet and junior Dominique Scott for win at the Aztec Invitational. The Razorbacks have collected three perfect scores on the young season in only three races. The women’s 5k race is slated for a 10:20 a.m. start at Agri Park in Fayetteville, Ark.


    The Auburn cross country teams closed the month of September at the Panorama Farms Invite in Charlottesville, Va., on Sept. 28. The men finished in fifth place, just five points behind third place, while the women were eighth. The meet was the most difficult of the season for the Tigers as the field featured two nationally ranked teams on the men’s side and one on the women’s, while 11 of the 13 men’s teams were regionally ranked and 10 of the 13 women’s teams regionally ranked.  The men were led for the third consecutive meet by junior Ty McCormack, who finished third in a personal-best time of 23:50.8 over the 8k course. All seven of the men competing posted PRs, while five of the seven women PRed at the meet. Kane Grimster and Samuel Mueller took 15th and 16th places, respectively for the men. The women were led by the freshmen duo of Rachel Givens and Veronica Eder, who were 23rd and 24th individually. Givens crossed the 5k run in 17:39.8, while Eder finished in 17:42.8. In all four meets this season, Auburn has been led by Givens and Eder on the women’s side. Eder was Auburn’s top finisher in the first two meets followed by Givens, while in the last two races, Givens has led the Tigers followed by Eder. McCormack has posted a third, first and third place individual finish in his three races this season. Auburn will have two weeks off before competing at the Crimson Classic on Oct. 18.


    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, while the women finished third overall. The men’s team was in action most recently, claiming the team title in the men’s college race at the Invite 14 Sept. 27. Next up, the women’s squad will compete at the Disney Cross Country Classic Oct. 12 before both teams head 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 - Freshman Carlos Miranda notched his first career victory as a Gator at the Invitational 14 Sept. 27 with a personal best 5k (5:17.60) as Florida took top honors in the collegiate men’s portion of the Titusville (Fla.)-based meet. All five Gator runners and scorers ran career-best marks to cap off a successful competition. Women - Last time out for the Florida 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.  


    Men - The Georgia men grabbed a 13th-place finish out of 24 competitors at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn., over the weekend.  Highlighting the team's finish was a pair of individual top-20 finishers.  Senior Brandon Lord crossed the finish line first out of the SEC competitors and 14th overall after registering a mark of 24:44.2.  Lord won the season-opening home meet and was Georgia's top finisher twice in 2012 as well.  Fellow senior Luke Baker managed a 20th-place finish after running the 8k course in 24:49.0.  A third senior, Charlie Sparks, was the third Bulldog to finish after taking 57th.  Sparks clocked a time of 25:19.5.  Juniors Zack Sims and Brendan Hoban were the final two Georgia scorers on Minnesota's golf course.  Sims took 100th out of 246 runners with a time of 25:46.7 while Hoban was 138th with a 26:05.0.  Georgia returns to action at a pair of meets on Oct. 19 – Berry Invitational (Mt. Berry, Ga.) and Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Madison, Wisc.). Women - The Lady Bulldogs pulled out a 12th-place finish out of 28 teams with 381 points at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn., over the weekend. Junior Carly Hamilton finished first for the Lady Bulldogs for the eighth consecutive meet that she has competed in.  The Springboro, Ohio, native clocked a 21:21.85 to take 19th and be the second runner from the SEC across the finish line.  Senior Nicole DiMercurio was next across the line after taking 75th with a 6k time of 22:21.25.  This finish came nearly a month after DiMercurio opened her final season by winning the Georgia Cross Country Invitational.  Senior Savannah Kirk was the third finisher for the Georgia women with a 92nd-place finish (22:29.25).  The fourth finisher for the Lady Bulldogs was junior Bret McDaniel.  Racing at her first meet of the year, McDaniel completed the course in 22:38.55 for 109th place.  Georgia's final scorer on the day was junior Erika Ramsey after she finished in 22:51.25 for 132nd place.  The Lady Bulldogs split up for their next meets and either return to action at the Berry Invitational (Mt. Berry, Ga.) or the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Madison, Wisc.) on Oct. 19.


    Cally Macumber won her second-consecutive cross country meet to lead the Kentucky women’s team to a second-place finish at the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree on Saturday. Macumber has won half of the 10 cross country races she has entered since the start of the 2012 season, a run that includes wins at the 2012 Southeastern Conference Championships and NCAA Southeast Regional. The Kentucky women’s team finished 18 points behind the winners, No. 22 Oklahoma State. Allison Peare continued her strong 2013 season with a top-10 time of 18:12.24. Anna Bostrom was 12th with a time of 18:24.00, while Taylor Wendler and Cassidy Hale were UK’s No. 4 and 5 finishers respectively. The UK men’s team placed fifth behind four ranked teams including the top two teams in the nation. Matt Hillenbrand led the way for UK with a 13th-place time of 25:04.52, and he was followed by Adam Kahleifeh, who placed 15th with a time of 25:07.04. Zack Beavin was the No. 3 Wildcat finisher with a top-25 time of 25:14.91. James Brown and Jared Phillips rounded out Kentucky’s top-five scoring places with respective times of 26:16.68 and 26:19.52. Kentucky will race in back-to-back weeks for the first time this season next Saturday at the Greater Louisville Classic.


    The Tigers and Lady Tigers earned second-place finishes this past Saturday at the McNeese Cowboy Stampede in Lake Charles at the Enos Darbonne Recreation Complex. Men – Junior Philip Primeaux led the Tigers for the second consecutive meet with a fifth-place finish and a four-mile time of 20 minutes, 5.69 seconds. Juniors William Wiesler (20:41.17) and Bryan Mutell (20:51.48), sophomore Travis Pope (21:04.2) and freshman Joseph St. Cyr (21:09.58) rounded out the pack. The members of the men’s “A” squad all finished in the Top 25 overall at fourth, 12th, 16th, 21st and 23rd, respectively. Women – Junior Andria Aguilar spearheaded the Lady Tigers with a fourth-place overall finish and a 5k time of 18 minutes, 25.62 seconds. Redshirt freshman Chaiss Matthews (19:25.86), sophomore Morgan Scheutz (19:27.06), and freshmen Jenna Walker (19:40.36) and Ashley Welborn (19:49.53) swiftly followed Aguilar. The members of the women’s “A” squad finished in the Top 20 overall at fifth, 12th, 13th, 15th and 17th, respectively. Aguilar, Mutell, Pope, Primeaux, Schuetz and Wiesler, who competed in the race last year, all improved their times in this year’s Stampede. The Tigers and Lady Tigers return to action when they head north to Fayetteville, Ark., where they will compete in the Chile Pepper Festival on Oct. 5. The meet will be held on the Razorback Cross Country course at Agri Park with the men starting at 9:45 a.m. CDT and the women immediately following at 10:30 a.m.

    Ole Miss

    Men – Ole Miss competed in Earlysville, Va., at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational this past weekend.  The Rebels finished in 12th place against some of the top competition in the country. Sophomore Ian Carter, who has led Ole Miss in every race this year, crossed the line in an 8K personal-best 24:54.4 and placed 50th individually. Other runners competing for the Rebels included Max Holman, Robert Domanic, Trevor Gilley, Jon Luke Watts, Ryan Smith and Will Spiers. The average time of the Rebel men improved from 26:24.15 at the Commodore Classic two weeks ago to 25:33.24 this week in Virginia. Ole Miss returns to action on Oct. 19 at the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind. Women – The Rebel women, ranked sixth in the South Region in this week’s USTFCCCA poll, turned in an impressive fifth-place finish at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational in Earlysville, Va., this past weekend. They finished ahead of the only other SEC competition, Auburn, in the meet. Ole Miss was led by freshman Michaela Quinn, who placed seventh individually with a strong 17:11.9 5K in her collegiate debut. Junior Haley Cutright was not far behind with a strong 15th-place finish in 17:29.4. Other Rebel runners included Annie Kelly, Kayleigh Skinner, McKenna Coughlin, Saga Barzowski and Amy McCrory, as the Rebels competed at their most challenging meet of the season to date. Ole Miss returns to action on Oct. 19 at the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind.

    Mississippi State

    In their largest non-conference meet of the season, the Mississippi State cross country teams showcased unrivaled performances to claim two first-place team finishes at the Charlotte Invitational on Saturday. In a field of 30 teams and 206 women, the Lady Bulldogs dominated to earn the Top 2 spots as junior Emma Neigel clocked a 21:24.00 in the 6K Gold Race to finish in first, followed by senior Katie Huston (2nd, 21:27.60). The MSU women also saw leadership from newcomer Lisa Ziegler, who posted a time of 21:47.90 to finish 10th. Juniors Jodie McGuff (21:48.90) and Evie Savage (22:33.80), along with sophomore Madison Milhoan (22:46.80) rounded out the cream of the crop, finishing 11th, 34th and 46th, respectively. Although coach Houston Franks’ women were running without sophomore standout Cornelia Griesche, they did not lack depth. Junior Carmen Brothers also finished second for the Lady Bulldogs in the 6K Green Race, running a 22:35.50. With 58 points, the MSU women topped host-team UNC Charlotte, North Florida, Davidson, Florida State, Miami and other strong programs. In similar fashion on the men’s side, the Maroon and White squad totaled 48 points to sweep the 8K Gold Race competition. Led by senior John Valentine (3rd, 25:12.20), the Bulldogs landed five in the Top 20 out of 197 athletes. Following Valentine was junior Cameron Vernier (25:19.60) and senior Juan Sanchez (25:32.80), who finished sixth and 10th, respectively. Twins Patrick (15th, 25:38.40) and Andrew Monaghan (19th, 25:41.10) rounded out the Top 20. The MSU men also saw action in the 8K Green Race as junior Carson Britton sped past competitors for a first-place finish (26:33.70). Coming in third was sophomore Matt Dunn, who posted a time of 26:41.30. After returning home from the Queen City, the MSU squads will prepare for conference action on Oct. 18 as Alabama hosts the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa.


    The University of Missouri traveled to Minneapolis, MN, this weekend for the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational.  One of the premier meets of the early season, the Tigers placed well in the field with a ninth-place finish for the men, and 14th-place finish for the women.  Men – The men were led by sophomore Tyler Schneider this weekend, as he finished 35th overall in 25:05, a 24-second improvement over his start last year.  Close behind him was freshman T.J. Carey, who opened up his career as a Tiger with a 40th-place finish in 25:10.  T.J. was the fourth freshman overall at Roy Griak, and currently holds the fourth-fastest 6k time for a freshman in the SEC.  Rounding out the top five for the Tigers was sophomore Evan Chiplock, who led the black and gold at the Arkansas Dual three weeks ago, sophomore Kenny Cushing, and junior Sam Dickerson.  The team finished ninth in the competitive field which included six nationally ranked programs, as released by the USTFCCCA.  Women – The ladies finished well in the stacked Roy Griak field, led once again by freshman Kaitlyn Fischer.  Fischer finished 32nd in the first 6k of her career, crossing in 21:46 to be the fifth-fastest freshman in the race.  Her time is the second-fastest 6k time for a freshman in the SEC, and the 12th-fastest time overall in the conference.  She was followed by the close pair of junior Courtney Brown and sophomore Sam Garrett, fellow-freshman Kayla Wolf, and junior Courtney Wood.  The women fared well against Midwest Regional competition, beating out South Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota State, Nebraska, Drake, and Creighton for their 14th-place finish.  The Tigers will be back on the road this weekend with the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, IN.  The women will race first on Friday with the Blue Division going off at 4:15 p.m. EST, followed by the men at 5:00 p.m. EST.

    South Carolina

    South Carolina finished 20th in this year's Roy Griak Invitational, holding up well in the rain during the 6K event in Minnesota. Maryland natives Meredith Mill and Mary Reiser paced the team yet again, with Mill finishing 60th overall in the event. Reiser, in her second 6K, ranked 29th among freshmen in the field. In her best race of the fall, sophomore Christine Kent moved into fourth on the squad, 14 seconds behind classmate Anna Todd. The depth of the roster continues to show itself, as the Gamecocks' 6-9 racers all crossed the line within 10 seconds of each other. The Gamecocks will let the depth of the team get more work this Wednesday, as selected runners will compete in the two-mile Gamecock Invitational #2 at Hilton Field. The top runners will race again on Oct. 11 at the Royal Cross Country Challenge in Charlotte.


    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 return to action this weekend with a trip to Louisville, Kentucky, for the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic. The meet, which includes distances of 8,000-meters for the men and 5,000-meters for the women, will be held on the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, site of the 2012 NCAA Championships. Texas A&M enters the weekend with the women ranked No. 3 and the men No. 4 in the South Central region. A squad of 22 runners will compete for the Aggies this week. Leading the men’s crew of 11 entries will be Isaac Spencer, Austin Wells and Ryan Miller, who were the top three A&M finishers at the Rice Invitational. Freshman Karis Jochen, who runs her second race for the Aggies after placing second at the Rice Invitational, leads the women’s crew of 11 runners. Hillary Montgomery, Sophie Blake, Amanda Jenkins and Gabby Salazar joined Jochen in finishing among the top 10 at the Rice Invitational the Aggie women won in their last outing. The large field of teams, separated into three races, is scheduled to include SEC teams Kentucky (Southeast: Men - No. 6, Women – No. 6) and Tennessee (South: Men - No. 7, Women – No. 11).  Other teams ranked among the South and Southeast regions include Eastern Kentucky (Southeast: Men - No. 2, Women – No. 5), Georgia Tech (South: Men - No. 5, Women – No. 12), and host Louisville (Southeast: Men - No. 9, Women – No. 7).


    Vanderbilt's No. 20 women's cross country team finished sixth in the team competition in a loaded field at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn. Senior Liz Anderson paced the Commodores in the team's first 6K race of the season with a time of 21:19 to take 14th overall. Rebecca Chandler (21:47) and Lily Williams (21:55) were next across the line for Vandy with Claire Benjamin (22:10) and Carmen Carlos (22:12) rounding out the Dores' scoring five. The Commodores scored 194 points for sixth place, capturing head-to-head wins over nationally ranked teams NC State and San Francisco. Vanderbilt returns to competition at the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky.