Mill Breaks Record; Gamecocks Take Royal Cross Country Challenge Crown
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Behind a historic and winning performance from junior Meredith Mill, South Carolina won the Royal Cross Country Challenge on Friday afternoon at McAlpine Creek Park.
Mill, the top runner all fall for the Gamecocks, defeated all collegiate runners from 35 different universities and broke the school’s 5,000-meter record set last year with a 17:03.6 time on the flat course. Mill’s time stands fourth in the SEC in a 5K this year. Freshman Mary Reiser finished second in the Division I field and fifth overall with a 17:39.0 time, the sixth-best time in South Carolina history. Sophomore Anna Todd broke through with a 17:59.8 clocking, finishing fourth in her division. The three top Gamecock finishers all bested their top time by over a minute, with Mill dropping over 1:45 from her previous best this year.
“I was really pleased how the team ran from top to bottom,” said assistant track coach for distance and cross country Andrew Allden. “We knew it was going to be a fast course with great weather, so we talked about taking advantage of the opportunity to run fast. I was very pleased to have three break 18 minutes. Meredith was so impressive and Mary continued to run the way she’s run all year. Anna dipping under 18 was great as well.”
Sophomore Stephanie Berger finished sixth, crossing the line in 18:04.5, while senior Penny Boswell clocked in at 18:14.4, ranking eighth. Sophomore Christine Kent (18:19.2) and freshman Martha McCoy (18:21.9) closed out the Gamecock scorers in 10th and 11th, respectively. Three sophomores and a freshman finished in a pack starting at 15th, as Alex Mullin led the group at 18:43.8. Freshman Sarah Falta (18:47.9) came in next, while Allie Whitley (18:50.6) and Brandy Wybersky (18:52.1) closing the pack. Eleven of the top 18 Division I runners hailed from South Carolina’s team.
Freshmen Brittany Day (19:23.5) and Melanie Ng (19:29.3) finished around sophomore Ashley Miller (19:25.9) in 24th-26th. Sophomore Courtney Swink came in 31st (19:52.1), while junior Sarah Pelligrini (33rd, 19:53.6) and freshman Haley Saxby (44th, 22:27.1) closed out the Gamecock finishers.
South Carolina topped Duke 20-44 to take the Division I title while also beating Palmetto State schools Charleston Southern and Presbyterian.
The Gamecocks head to Terre Haute, Ind., to race in the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational next Saturday for the final tune-up before the championship season begins.
Aggie men win Houston Baptist Invitational, A&M women place second
HOUSTON – Texas A&M won the men’s title and finished second in the women’s race during the Houston Baptist Invitational held Friday evening at the St. Agnes Athletic Complex.
Scoring 20 points garnered the men’s team title as adjusted scoring had the Aggies producing places 2-3-4-5-6 among its first five runners. Houston Baptist, led by individual winner Matt Perri (15:04), placed second with 45 points while Texas Southern finished third with 101 points.
“I’m very pleased with both races,” said Texas A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven. “The men were nearly perfect in executing our race plan. It was great seeing our top four out there just rolling along together. It was a great team race.”
Baylor claimed the women’s team title with 31 points (2-3-4-6-16) while Texas A&M turned in a score of 55 points (7-9-12-13-14) for runner-up honors. Houston Baptist finished third with 68 points while Nicholls State placed fourth with 107.
Jake Roberts led the A&M men’s crew, running 15:29 on the 5,000-meter course that featured a 1,000-meter loop. Roberts placed fifth in the race behind Perri and a pair of runners from Monterrey Tech – Jesus Esparza (15:09) and Jose Esparza (15:12) – along with Aggie teammate Colin Slattery (15:27), who raced unattached.
Finishing in a tight group behind Roberts were four more Aggies, which included Alex Riba (15:31), Micah Dettmer (15:31), Ryan Miller (15:33) and Aaron Murray (15:40) in places 6-7-8-9. The scoring group was separated by just 11 seconds.
“Jake Roberts is just starting to scratch the surface as to how good he can be,” noted McRaven. “It was also great to see Alex Riba in the mix. He wasn't afraid to lead our pack and I think he is on his way. Dettmer and Miller are veterans in there. Miller is coming off a little injury that kept him out of the Louisville meet. This was a chance for him to get back into racing mode.”
Johanna Galloway covered the women’s 5,000-meter course in 18:36 to lead the A&M women as she placed 10th overall and was seventh in the adjusted scoring. Meredith Gleitz finished the race in 18:44 to place second among the Aggie group, taking 12th overall and ninth in adjusted scoring.
“The great thing about Galloway and Gleitz leading the way for the women is the fact that they are probably the two of the most-improved women on the team,” added McRaven.
Then a trio of runners completed the A&M scoring five as Heather Sterling (18:57), Ashley Chamberlain (19:01) and Katie Pia (19:03) finished 15-16-17 overall and 12-13-14 in adjusted scoring.
Post collegians Lauren Smith (17:33) and Cate Westenhover (17:33) battled for the individual women’s victory, with Smith having the edge at the finish line. Julieta Bautista of Monterrey Tech (17:52) and Tessni Carruther of Nicholls State (18:03) were the top two collegians.
Elliott Farris (15:46) was the sixth finisher for the A&M men, placing 12th, while Dylan Williams (16:12) finished as the seventh runner for the Aggies in 17th place. Also competing for A&M in the race were Dillon Worley (29th, 16:43), Nathan Ricketts (36th, 17:08) and Bobby Zeller (38th, 17:11).
The Aggie women’s sixth runner was Eva Vigh (19:13) in 19th place followed by the tandem of Rachel Williams (19:17) and Haley Deakins (19:19) in 21st and 22nd place. Rounding out the A&M women’s crew were Lauren Fontana (24th, 19:25), Caitlin Gilmore (26th, 19:26), Sara Shaw (33rd, 19:45), and Emily Willingham (38th, 20:09).