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    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook

    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook (Oct. 30, 2013)

    Alabama


    The Alabama women’s team moved up one slot and is ranked fourth in the USTFCCCA South Regional rankings, released October 21. The men fell one spot to 12th in the South Region ... after a first-place finish at the Crimson Classic on October 18, the women’s cross country team has won three of four races entered this season. They enter the SEC Championships with wins at the Samford Dual, the Iowa Black and Gold Invitational and the Crimson Classic, coupled with a top-10 finish at the competitive Paul Short Invitational ... through four meets in the 2013 season, sophomore Katelyn Greenleaf has been the top finisher for the women’s cross country team three times. The native of St. Petersburg, Fla. has also been a runner-up finisher overall in three separate races as well (Samford Dual, Iowa Black & Gold and the Crimson Classic). Greenleaf has the 17th fastest 6-kilometer time in the SEC, coupled with the seventh-fastest 4k time in the conference ... Alabama cross country teams have won a total of five Southeastern Conference team titles (three men’s titles, two women’s team titles) and produced 12 SEC individual champions (eight men, four women). The Crimson Tide has won men’s team titles in 1973, 2008 and 2009 while the Tide women won team crowns in 1986 and 1987. The great David Kimani won SEC men’s titles for Alabama in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Other Tide individual men’s winners were Robert Peete (1959-60), Steve Bolt (1976), German Beltran (1988) and Emmanuel Bor (2007). For the women, Evelyn Adiru won the individual title in 1985 and 1987 before Carole Trepanier took the title in 1988 ... Alabama posted a pair of 11th place team finishes at the 2012 SEC Cross Country Championships in Nashville, Tenn. (hosted by Vanderbilt University). The men’s team was paced by a 56th place finish by freshman Robbie Farnham-Rose while the women’s team was led by freshman Katelyn Greenleaf’s 20th place showing ... The Crimson Tide will return home to host the NCAA South Regional on Friday, Nov. 15, at the Harry Pritchett Running Park in Tuscaloosa, Ala. This will be the fifth time since 2001 that the Crimson Tide has hosted a regional, having also hosted in 2001, 2004, 2009 and 2011.

    Arkansas

    Men - The No. 12 Arkansas men’s cross country team was a unanimous selection to win the 2013 SEC Championship. Arkansas is the three-time defending conference champion, having most recently won the program’s 20th SEC cross country title in 2012. The Razorbacks have seven consecutive conference titles dating back to the 2011 outdoor track and field title.  The Razorbacks return All-SEC performers in Solomon Haile, Kemoy Campbell and Cale Wallace. In 2012, head coach Chris Bucknam was named the SEC Coach of the Year and Wallace earned SEC Freshman of the year honors. So far this season, the Razorbacks have collected three team titles and four individual titles. The Razorbacks have also collected multiple awards with Stanley Kebenei being named the USTFCCCA National Runner of the Week as well as SEC Runner of the Week twice, Campbell also collected two SEC Runner of the Week honors. Freshman Aidan Swain also added to Arkansas’ honors by being named the SEC Freshman of the Week on two separate occasions. Women - The No. 2 Arkansas women’s cross country team is coming in to the 2013 SEC Championship with its highest ranking since 2006. The Razorbacks were the majority preseason favorite to win the program’s 14th SEC title since joining the conference in 1991. The Razorbacks return All-SEC team members in Grace Heymsfield and Diane Robison. So far this season, Arkansas has taken four team and individual titles including four perfect scores. Arkansas has also collected four SEC Runner of the Week Honors from Stephanie Brown, Dominique Scott and two from Heymsfield and an SEC Freshman Runner of the Week honor for Sandie Raines.

    Auburn

    Men - The Auburn men enter the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championships ranked fourth in the USTFCCCA South Region rankings and will be looking for their first top-three finish since 2009 after finishing eighth last year. In the last 20 years, the highest team finish for the men was second in 2008. Auburn’s last SEC title in cross country was in 1980. The last men’s individual champion was Girma Mecheso in 2008.  In their last meet, behind a first-place finish from Ty McCormack, won the Crimson Classic on Oct. 18 in Tuscaloosa. The men won convincingly having the top three finishers in the team scoring. Joining McCormack on the medal stand was Niklas Buhner and Kane Grimster, who were second and third, respectively. McCormack, who transferred to Auburn this season after running at Clemson previously, has won two races this season, also winning the Georgia State Invite on Sept. 20. He has been the Auburn men’s top finisher in all four meets he’s competed this fall. Women - The Auburn women enter the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championships 10th in the USTFCCCA South Region rankings. The women, which finished 14th last year at SECs are young with six of their top seven runners being underclassmen and will vie to crack into the top half of the team standings for the first time since 2010. The Tigers’ highest finish in the last 20 years was a second-place showing in 1995. Angela Homan was Auburn’s last SEC champion, claiming the title three-consecutive years from 2003-05. The Tigers finished fourth in their last meet, the Crimson Classic on Oct. 18 in Tuscaloosa. The women’s team has been led all year by freshmen Veronica Eder and Rachel Givens as the duo have been the team’s top two finishers in all five meets this season. Eder has been Auburn’s top finisher at the Trojan Invite (Aug. 30), Mountain Dew Invite (Sept. 14) and the Crimson Classic (Oct. 18), while Givens was the Tigers’ leader at the Georgia State Invite (Sept. 20) and the Panorama Farms Invite (Sept. 28).

    Florida

    The Championship portion of the 2013 SEC Cross Country schedule kicks of Friday, Nov. 1, at UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course as the Gators play host to the 2013 SEC Championships in Gainesville for the first time since 2002, the University of Florida UF has previously hosted the event four times (’73, ’81, ’90, ’02). Admission is free and spectator parking is available at the UF Law School. The University of Florida has won three of the last four women’s team titles (2009, 2010, 2012) and will have a shot at its seventh in Gator history on its home course, while Arkansas won three straight from 2006-2008 and Vanderbilt claimed the Commodores’ first SEC title in 2011. On the men’s side, Arkansas has won 20 of the last 22 SEC Championship titles, with Alabama breaking up the streak with back-to-back championships in 2008 and 2009. On the women’s side for the Gators, Florida has six overall SEC titles (1984, 1996, 1997, 2009, 2010, 2012), second most for a SEC women’s squad, and has finished in the top five at the SEC Championship nine straight years, while checking in in the top three five consecutive seasons. UF will look to win back-to-back titles for the second time and keep the trophy in Gainesville after winning the 2012 SEC title. On the Florida men’s side, the Gators are seeking their first SEC Championship in 25 years (1955, 1986, 1987). UF has been a top-five finisher at SECs for 16 straight years, 11 of those consisting of top-three finishes. The Orange and Blue were the SEC runner-up in 2011 and finished fifth last season at SECs. Individually speaking, UF returns two 2012 All-SEC First Team performers – one on each side – in seniors Mark Parrish and Agata Strausa and UF will be led for the second year by 2012 SEC Women’s Coach of the Year Paul Spangler.

    Georgia

    Men - Georgia enters the week of the SEC Championships with momentum from the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 19).  Senior Luke Baker led his team to a 24th-place finish (543 points) after taking 25th in the individual competition.  His time of 23:48 on the 8k course marked the first time he led his team in 2013 and the second time in his career.  Fellow seniors Brandon Lord (83rd), who has been named the USTFCCCA National Men's Athlete of the Week once this season, and Charlie Sparks (115th) were the next two Bulldogs to pace UGA's performance.  Those three, along with juniors Brendan Hoban, Zack Sims and Steven Spevacek, sophomore Sid Vaughn and freshmen Trevor Grant, Morgan Malanoski and Brad Hort, will travel to Gainesville, Fla., for the conference meet, which is at 9 a.m. on Friday.  Georgia is third in the most recent South Region poll.  Last year, the Bulldogs matched their best performance in history at the SEC Championships last year after taking second place.  The Georgia men then took second at the NCAA South Regionals before earning a program-best 19th place at the NCAA Championships.  Lord (13th) and Baker (19th) both scored in 2012 (both also scored in 2011) while Sparks was 39th in 2010 to be in Georgia's top five at the SEC meet. Women - Following four consecutive years at fourth place, the Georgia women completed the 2012 SEC Championships in sixth place.  Three scorers from last year – Carly Hamilton (fourth), Nicole DiMercurio (38th) and Bret McDaniel (39th) - return to compete this year along with seniors Stella Christoforou and Savannah Kirk, juniors Megan Malasarte (who is racing in her first SEC XC Championships since she is a middle-distance standout), Erika Ramsey, Sarah Perry and Brooke Koblitz and freshman Jenn Cora.  The Lady Bulldogs rebounded from their sixth-place finish in 2012 to take third at the NCAA South Regionals and advance to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2007.  It also marked the first time since 2004 that both the Georgia men and women were competing at the same national meet.  Georgia is coming off a 32nd-place finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (Oct. 9).  Despite Hamilton not finishing the race, the Lady Bulldogs had four finishers in the top 200 individually.  For the second time this season, DiMercurio led her team after taking 116th on the 6k course with a time of 21:13.

    Kentucky

    UK enters the SEC Championships led on the women’s side by defending conference champion Cally Macumber. The senior, Rochester Hills, Mich., has won two races this season, and has placed in the top five in all but one competition. Macumber was named SEC Runner of the Week and USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week earlier this season, with the fastest 5K time in the conference all year: 16:32.11 at the Bluegrass Invitational. Her only 6K performance of the season, 20:12.15, was the fourth-fastest time in the SEC over that distance this year. UK also boasts two more decorated seniors as Allison Peare and Anna Bostrom were both All-Southeast Region finishers in 2012. Freshman Cassidy Hale has also enjoyed a strong first season in Lexington with a top 5K time of 17:36.56. The UK men’s team is led by a pair of seniors: Matt Hillenbrand and Adam Kahleifeh. Kahleifeh’s top 2013 time, which came on Sept. 14 at the Bluegrass Invitational, is the 10th fastest 8K performance in the SEC this year. Hillenbrand’s top 2013 8K time ranks 20th in the SEC. Sophomore transfer Zack Beavin has enjoyed a strong debut season as a Wildcat with a top 8K time of 24:47.93. Mackay Wilson’s best 8K time: 25:00.92 came at UK’s last meet, Pre-Nationals.

    LSU

    After competing in the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sep. 14, the Tigers and Lady Tigers are set to compete this Friday at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla., for the second time this season in the SEC Championships. Men – Junior Philip Primeaux looks to lead the pack after running a team-best time of 25:41.64 earlier this year at the Mountain Dew Invitational (MDI) 8k. Following Primeaux, juniors Philip Dempsey (26:45.37) and William Wiesler (26:17.57) and sophomore Travis Pope (26:26.83) own the second, third and fourth top 8k times on the team. Women – Junior Andria Aguilar hopes to spearhead the women’s squad, clocking a team-best 22:15.69 at the MDI 6k earlier this year. Sophomore Morgan Schuetz (23:53.81), redshirt freshman Chaiss Matthews (23:58.40) and freshmen Jenna Walker (23:26.13) also ran sub-24 minute times in the MDI.

    Ole Miss

    Men - Ole Miss has blended veteran leadership in the form of Ian Carter and Max Holman, with new faces such as Robert Domanic and Trevor Gilley, throughout the 2013 season. The men head to Gainesville for this Friday’s SEC Championships. Their 8K race is scheduled for a 9 a.m. ET start. Other team members include veteran Ryan Smith and newcomers Will Spiers and Jon Luke Watts. The Rebels placed 10th at last year’s SEC meet in Nashville. Women - Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the first time in program history (No. 30 in the USTFCCCA poll) as the Rebels head to Gainesville for the 2013 SEC Championships. The women’s race is set to begin at 10 a.m. ET. Admission is free and the SEC Championship Awards Ceremony begins at 11:15 a.m. ET. The Rebel women have had a season to remember, being led by freshman Michaela Quinn, two-time SEC Freshman of the Week and one-time SEC Runner of the Week, and junior Haley Cutright. They became the third and fourth Rebel women ever to break 21 seconds over a 6K course. Cutright will lead a balanced team of veterans and youth that includes upperclassmen McKenna Coughlin, Amy McCrory and Kayleigh Skinner as well as newcomers Saga Barzowski, Mary Alex England, Scarlett Fox, Annie Kelly, Sophie Linn and Kacy Smith. Ole Miss placed fourth at last year’s SEC meet in Nashville, which was the best finish in program history.

    Mississippi State

    With post-season action slated to begin on Friday, the Mississippi State cross country teams are set to travel to Gainesville, Fla., for the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championships. The Bulldogs bring 20 athletes to the field, including senior veterans Katie Huston, Juan Sanchez  and John Valentine, along with talented newcomers Cornelia Griesche and Damian Roszko. Valentine has led the way for coach Houston Franks’ men in every meet this season as the top Bulldog runner, holding the team’s top 8K time of 24:47.93 (Crimson Classic).  Junior Emma Neigel claims MSU’s best 6K time, clocking a 21:24.00 at the Charlotte Invitational on Sept. 28. Last year the teams left SECs with eighth and 10th-place finishes, which serves as motivation to execute their goals at this year's championships. Both teams have knocked out numerous conference rivals at competitions this season, proving they are capable of success in Florida. The MSU men have defeated Ole Miss and Vanderbilt twice in the 2013 campaign, along with SEC foes Alabama and LSU. On the women’s side, the Lady Bulldogs have finished ahead of Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt during this regular season. Action will kick off at the University of Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Course at 9 a.m. with the men’s 8K race, followed by the women’s 6K at 10 a.m.

    Missouri

    Championship season is under way for Tigers Cross Country, as the men and women prepare to head down to Gainesville, FL, for the SEC Championships on Friday.  The men's 8k will kick off the day at at 9:00 a.m. EST at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.  The Tigers are coming off another impressive season, led by a trio of underclassmen in sophomores Evan Chiplock and Tyler Schneider, and freshman T.J. Carey.  All three have led the charge for Mizzou throughout the season, and are joined at the top of the ranks by senior Hayden Legg and junior Sam Dickerson.  The depth of this young Tiger squad has proved to be its greatest strength, and the men will look to continue this trend to better their third-place finish from last year's Championship.  The women's 6k will go off at 10:00 a.m. EST to round out the morning's competition. The Tiger ladies are coming off some exciting performances, the most recent of which saw a first-place team win at the Bradley Pink Classic and their launch into the Midwest Regional rankings at No. 4.  Like the men, the women have displayed a lot of youth and depth throughout the season, with freshman Kaitlyn Fischer taking the lead for three of her four meets this season.  Also leading the way during the season was junior Liz Reida, who took charge for the team at the Notre Dame Invitational.  Junior Courtney Brown, sophomore Sam Garrett, and freshmen Kaelyn Balch and Nicole Mello will also be looked to as key scorers during the latter part of the season.  The women were put at No. 8 in the conference going into the season, and will look to turn some heads and improve upon that ranking on Friday.

    South Carolina

    South Carolina looks to stay in the top 10 in the league's championship event on Friday, one year after a ninth-place showing by the squad. While six of the seven runners who scored for the Gamecocks last year remain on the roster, only three will be active. Leading that group is junior Meredith Mill, who has led the team all fall and finished outside of the top 10 only once, while the other two members of that group, senior Penny Boswell and sophomore Christine Kent, will look to improve on their finishes from a year ago. One other Gamecock, sophomore Anna Todd, ran in the 2012 SEC Championships, and she has improved to finish third on the squad most of this season. Junior Alex Mullin along with sophomores Stephanie Berger and Brandy Wybersky join freshmen Sarah Falta, Martha McCoy and Mary Reiser in racing their first league championship. All 10 finished in under 24 minutes during the 25th Mountain Dew Invite on the same 6K Mark Bostic Golf Course earlier in the fall, with Mill posting a seventh-place finish and Reiser capturing 12th. If the Gamecocks place ninth or better again, it would be the first time since a five-year streak from 1997-2001 that South Carolina has finished ninth or better in consecutive years.

    Tennessee

    The Tennessee men's and women's cross country teams are gearing up for the SEC Championships on Friday. The men's team is led by junior Peter Okwera, who has recorded three top-five finishes and won individual titles at the Belmont Opener and the Greater Louisville Classic. He earned All-SEC and All-America honors during last year's postseason competition. Senior Stephen Derlath has consistently been UT's No. 2 finisher this year. On the women's side, a pair of sophomores have led the way. Alexis Panisse has three top-10 finishes this year, and Chelsea Blaase won her first career individual title at the Crimson Classic. The Lady Vols had success at the Florida course earlier this season, winning the Mountain Dew Invitational.

    Texas A&M

    Men - Between cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, the Aggie men placed third in each SEC conference meet during the 2012-13 campaign, starting with a third-place tie at the SEC Cross Country Championships. Led by the individual winner in Henry Lelei, Texas A&M scored 80 points to tie Missouri with a crew of five seniors on the team. This week the Aggie men will feature five freshmen among its group of 10 runners. The squad is led by Isaac Spencer, who placed 17th a year ago in the SEC meet as the third finisher for A&M. A group of five Aggie freshmen have provided the bulk of team scoring positions behind Spencer this season. Austin Wells, who lead the team on a 5,500-meter course at Rice, was the second A&M finisher at Louisville and the fourth finisher at Wisconsin over the pair of 8,000-meter courses. Cameron Villarreal was the third Aggie at Louisville and second A&M runner during the Wisconsin race. Women – The Aggie women finished eighth in the SEC meet last season with 224 points and then placed third indoors while capturing the SEC team title outdoors. Heading into the SEC meet the A&M women have moved into the No. 2 position among South Central region teams and are receiving votes in the national poll. Experience on the conference level is a key element for the Aggie women as the top three finishers from last season’s SEC race return along with five of the top seven A&M finishers. Hillary Montgomery leads the Aggie group into the SEC meet, having been the top finisher for A&M in both 6,000-meter races held at Louisville and Wisconsin. Amanda Jenkins led A&M last fall, finishing 36th in the SEC meet, while Montgomery and Gabby Salazar placed 41st and 42nd to score the first three places for the Aggies. Sophie Blake, the fifth runner for the team, placed 60th overall while Grace Fletcher, the seventh A&M finisher, placed 72nd in the field of 124.

    Vanderbilt

    The Commodores head to Gainesville, Fla. for the SEC Championships this weekend. The women's squad will be in search of the school's second-ever league title after winning it for the first time in 2011. The Dores finished third on their home course at Percy Warner Park at last year's SEC Championships with Hannah Jumper earning first team All-SEC recognition with a seventh overall finish. Vandy will have 10 ladies toe the line on Friday with Grace Orders, Rebecca Chandler, Liz Anderson and Hannah Jumper returning from last year's third place team. For Anderson it is her fourth trip to the SEC Championships with a best of fourth place overall in 2011. Juniors Chandler and Orders make their third straight trip to the Championships having earned Freshman All-SEC honors at the 2011 race. Amira Joseph returns to the Championships for the first time since earning Freshman All-SEC honors in 2011. Claire Benjamin, Vanessa Valentine, Katherine Delaney and freshmen Lily Williams and Carmen Carlos are all slated to make their SEC Championships debut. For Vanderbilt's men's squad eight Commodores will line up at the starting line on Friday led by junior John Ewing. The Dores finished 12th last year at the SEC Championships in Nashville, marking the first time since 2009 the non-scholarship team finished ahead of a team at the championship race. Ewing paced Vandy over the 8K race last year finishing 58th overall. Senior David McAdams makes his third appearance at the meet with Ewing and Matthew Cleveland making their second. Nick French and Andrew Bachman make their second trip to the meet after debuting at Percy Warner Park last fall. Andrew Fix, Sam Reilly and freshman Jake Van Geffen are all scheduled to make their SEC Championships debut.