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    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook

    SEC Cross Country Weekly Notebook (Nov. 19, 2013)

    Alabama


    Sophomores Katelyn Greenleaf and Meropi Panagiotou of the Alabama women's cross country team earned All-South Region honors for their performances at last Friday's NCAA South Region Championships in Tuscaloosa ... all-Region honors are reserved for the 450 male and female athletes from across the nation each season who place in the top 25 at the nine different regional championships ... Greenleaf (St. Petersburg, Fla./Northside Christian HS) earned the honor by virtue of a team-best 13th-place finish at the South Region championships on November 15 as she traversed the 6-kilometer version of the Harry Pritchett Running Course in a personal-best time of 20 minutes, 38.44 seconds ... After putting together an impressive freshman campaign last season that was highlighted by a top-20 finish at the 2012 SEC Championships, Greenleaf consistently led the Crimson Tide as she posted the team's fastest times in five of six races this fall, including a ninth-place finish at the 2013 SEC Championships ... Panagiotou (Nicosia, Cyprus) was the individual champion in the season's first meet at the Samford Dual on August 31, and followed up with top-10 finishes at Iowa and the Crimson Classic as well as a 27th-place showing at the SEC Championships. Panagiotou finished 19th overall at the NCAA South Region Championships ... Largely due to the performances of Greenleaf and Panagiotou, the Alabama women's cross country team won the team title at three meets this fall - the Samford Dual (August 31), the Iowa Black and Gold Invitational (September 13) and the Crimson Classic (Oct. 18), in addition to posting Alabama's highest women's team finish at an NCAA South Region Championships since 1987, the Tide's third-place showing on November 15 in Tuscaloosa ... Alabama's men's team was 13th in a field of 26 teams at the NCAA South Region meet ... sophomore Parker Deuel led Alabama by placing 39th in a field of 173 competitors, covering the 10-kilometer course in 31:03 ... junior Matt Airola was 49th in 31:16 ... sophomore Andrew Faris (68th overall, 31:41) and freshmen Conner Thompson (73rd, 31:45) and Payton Ballard (113th, 32:40) rounded out the top five finishes for Alabama.

    Arkansas

    Men - The No. 9 University of Arkansas men’s cross country team took the team title at the 2013 NCAA South Central Regional Championships over the weekend  behind a 1-2 photo-finish from Stanley Kebenei and Kemoy Campbell, respectively. By winning the regional, the Razorbacks clinched a spot in the 2013 NCAA National Championship Meet in Terre Haute, Ind. Kebenei and Campbell led the Razorbacks to the program’s 33rd NCAA Regional title with a total score of 34 points. In total, five Razorbacks finished in the top 16 to earn All-Region honors. The photo finish at the line came at a mark of 29:41.3, 11 seconds ahead of the third-place runner. Kebenei claimed Arkansas’ 20th individual NCAA Regional title and it marked the second title under head coach Chris Bucknam’s era at Arkansas. The men’s championship race is scheduled for an 11 a.m. start. Women - The No. 3 University of Arkansas women’s cross country team claimed its fourth NCAA South Central Regional title in a row in overwhelming fashion as all seven Razorbacks finished in the top 20 of the race to qualify for the 2013 NCAA National Championship Meet. The Razorbacks scored 33 points in the meet to earn the largest margin of victory in the NCAA South Central Regional en route to the programs 18th regional title. SMU and Texas tied with 116 points and SMU was awarded the second automatic bid to the national meet. Sophomore Dominique Scott earned a second-place finish for the meet with a time of 20:04.6 to start the pack of Razorbacks across the finish line. Scott would earn a spot on the All-Region team for the second time in her career. Junior Shannon Klenke was next to finish in third-place with a time of 20:13.9 to also earn her second All-Region honors for her career. All seven Razorbacks that competed were awarded All-region honors for the race. The women’s championship race is scheduled for a 12:15 start.

    Auburn

    Men - The Auburn men finished fourth last week at the NCAA South Regionals. Junior Ty McCormack was the Tigers’ top finisher as he placed third finishing the 10k course in a PR time of 29:51.81 to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships as an individual. Junior Kane Grimster was 11th overall in a time of 30:23.08, while senior Samuel Mueller (30:32.66) was 15th. All three individuals earned All-Region honors for their performances. McCormack, who transferred to Auburn this season after running at Clemson previously, has won two races this season, winning the Crimson Classic on Oct. 18, and the Georgia State Invite on Sept. 20. He has been the Auburn men’s top finisher in all five meets he’s competed this fall. Women - The Auburn women finished 10th at the NCAA South Regional meet on Nov. 15. Freshman Veronica Eder was 24th to lead the Tigers. Eder finished the 6k in 20:51.34 to earn All-Region honors. Teammate Rachel Givens was 40th in 21:09.67. All six Tigers competing at the regional posted PR times. The team was led all year by Eder and Givens as the duo have been the team’s top two finishers in all seven meets. Eder was Auburn’s top finisher at the Trojan Invite (Aug. 30), Mountain Dew Invite (Sept. 14), the Crimson Classic (Oct. 18) and NCAA South Regional (Nov. 15), while Givens was the Tigers’ leader at the Georgia State Invite (Sept. 20), the Panorama Farms Invite (Sept. 28) and Southeastern Conference Championships (Nov. 1).

    Florida

    After turning in a second-place finish at the 2013 South Region Championship behind South Region Athlete of the Year and men’s race winner Mark Parrish, the No. 30 Gator men’s cross country team is headed to nationals for the second time in the last three years (2011, 2013) and will have representation at NCAAs for the fourth straight year as Parrish (174th) and junior Jimmy Clark (196th) competed as individuals in 2012. Parrish and Clark went one-two in the men’s 10K at regionals, while placing three runners in the top-10 for the automatic team bid. UF’s men clocked a top-five regionals finish for the 17th consecutive year and were top three for the fourth straight season. In addition to Parrish and Clark, juniors Eddie Garcia and JL Hines competed for UF at 2011 nationals, making four NCAA-experienced Gator competitors. On the women’s side, UF placed fourth at regionals, shy of an automatic team bid, but individuals Cory McGee and Agata Strausa both picked up individual at-large bids for their second and ninth-place finishes at regionals, respectively. UF’s fourth-place finish at the South Region Championships marked eight straight years in the top five. The Gators will have representation at NCAAs on the women’s side for the eighth straight year after, six of those with team bids, while the Gators had individual representatives in 2011 and now in 2013. McGee, who received a medical redshirt in 2012, will be competing at her third NCAA Championships after running in both 2010 and 2011 for Florida, while Strausa will make her second straight appearance at nationals after competing for the Orange and Blue in 2012, when UF finished 23rd overall. McGee’s placed highest in 2010 (129th), while Strausa was 101st in 2012. Florida’s fastest 10K at NCAAs came from Robert Blount in 1976 (29:19.67), while the 10K school record belongs to Keith Brantly (29.19.2). Former Gators Tom Nohilly (1988) and Dan Middleman (1990) have the highest NCAA finishes in school history, both checking in 13th their respective years. UF’s last cross country All-American was Jeremy Criscione (2008), when he finished 20th. From a team standpoint, Florida’s highest finish was sixth overall in 1990, and last time out (2012), UF was 30th overall. In women’s action, the fastest 6K at NCAAs came from Rebecca Lowe in 2009 (20:18.8), while the Florida 6K school record is 19:44.04 by Erin Merten in 2001. The Gators’ highest NCAA finisher was Shelly Steely (2nd) in 1984, while Lowe was UF’s cross country All-American on the women’s side in 2009 with her 15th-place finish.

    Georgia

    Men - For the third consecutive year, the Bulldogs have clinched a spot at the NCAA Championships.  This season, the Georgia men locked down their spot by winning their first NCAA South Regional title since 2003 and only second in history.  The Bulldogs edged Florida 72-73 thanks in part to four individual finishers in the top 20 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Nov. 15.  Senior Luke Baker repeated his performance from the SEC Championships and took fourth at Regionals with a 10k time of 29:53.46.  This was his third straight meet leading his team.  Baker joined senior Brandon Lord, senior Charlie Sparks and junior Zack Sims with All-Region honors.  Lord, who finished as high as third in 2012, managed a seventh-place finish (30:08.61) for his third straight All-Region honor.  Sparks battled back from a position in the 50s midway through the race to finish a career-best 10th with a time of 30:18.76 to get his second consecutive All-Region honor.  Sims, who was 40th in 2012, cut his finish last year in half to take 20th after crossing the finish line in 30:37.47.  Georgia's fifth and final scorer, junior Brendan Hoban, held off Florida's John-Logan Hines to clinch the team victory.  Hoban registered a time of 30:53.40 for 31st place as Hines was 32nd at 30:54.76.  The Bulldogs take the course at the LaVern Gibson Championships Cross Country Course and compete in their second 10k of the season at noon ET.  Women - The Lady Bulldogs had a pair of All-Region finishers and took sixth at the NCAA South Regional Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala.  Georgia scored 175 points and was just 22 points from tying for fourth.  Junior Carly Hamilton continued to recover from late-season struggles and led the Lady Bulldogs with a 15th-place finish (20:38.87) in the 6k race.  Hamilton joined senior Nicole DiMercurio with All-Region honors.  DiMercurio rallied for a 25th-place finish after clocking a 20:52.49.  Junior Bret McDaniel scored at her second straight NCAA Regional after crossing the finish line in 38th place with a time of 21:05.95.  Next across the line for Georgia was junior middle-distance runner Stella Christoforou.  The native of Greece took 51st (21:20.01) as junior Erika Ramsey rounded out the Lady Bulldogs scorers in 57th place (21:26.84).  This was Ramsey's first trip to the NCAA Regionals.  This completes Georgia's cross country season as the runners will now prepare for the 2014 indoor track season.

    Kentucky

    Cally Macumber earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship by finishing second individually at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships on Friday. Macumber made up a 15-meter gap within the final 50 meters, passing two runners in the process. She will compete at the NCAA Championships, which will take place Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., for the second straight season. Macumber finished sixth at the National Championship meet last season, earned All-America honors in the process. With the result last Saturday, Macumber was named to the All-Southeast Region Team for the second straight season. Macumber led the UK women’s team to a fifth-place finish, as the Wildcats ended up with 186 points. Seniors Allison Peare and Anna Bostrom worked together to place 30th and 36th respectively with times of 21:22.20 and 21:25.90. The UK men's team finished 12th overall with 336 points. Seniors Matt Hillenbrand and Adam Kahleifeh finished 30th and 53rd respectively with times of 29:59.60 of 30:38.30.

    LSU

    LSU’s cross country teams finished 17th in their season finale at the NCAA South Central Regional this past Friday at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course. Men - The men finished with a total of 449 points. Junior Philip Primeaux finished in 49th place while running a personal-best 32 minutes, 0.9 seconds. In addition to Primeaux, juniors Bryan Mutell (33:24.2) and William Wiesler (33:47.4) and sophomores Aaron Koenck (34:17.1) and Travis Pope (33:04.4) conquered personal records on the men’s side. Other top finishers for the Tigers included Pope (88th) and Mutell (98th). Women - The women finished with a total of 473 points. Sophomore Morgan Schuetz crushed her previous personal best by over a minute, finishing in 85th place at 23 minutes, 0.2 seconds. Redshirt freshmen Meghan Charbonnet (23:34.6) and Chaiss Matthews (23:29.8) and freshman Ashley Welborn (23:28.0) joined Schuetz in celebrating personal bests. Welborn (102nd) and Matthews (103rd) followed Schuetz to the finish line on the women’s side. This wraps up the 2013-14 cross country season for LSU. The first indoor track meet will be in Birmingham, Ala., for the Auburn Indoor Invitational on Jan. 18.

    Ole Miss

    Men - Freshman Robert Domanic earned All-Region honors for his 18th-place time of 30:35.31 in his first competitive 10K of his Ole Miss career to lead the Rebels at the NCAA South Region Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He and junior Max Holman, who finished 33rd with a time of 30:55.76, led the Rebels to a ninth-place finish. All year the Rebel men had two veterans mixed in with five freshmen and all five made significant progress in their first year in a Rebel uniform. Sophomore Ian Carter led the way for the team at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic, the Commodore Classic and the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. Holman and Domanic placed 15th and 16th in the white race at the Pre-National Invitational to lead the team to a fourth-place finish. The Rebels then headed to Gainesville, Fla., where different personal performances would shine. Holman who raced in his final SEC Championship, led the charge for the men, placing 38th overall and had a personal-best time in the 8K of 25:06.53. He and Carter finished neck-and-neck at the finish line. Carter crossed the line 39th overall with a time of 25:06.67. Trevor Gilley earned SEC All-Freshman honors with a 25:20.96 time and 45th-place overall finish. Women - Junior Haley Cutright led the Ole Miss women throughout the 2013 campaign, and this trend continued as the Rebels ran in the NCAA South Region Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Cutright, along with freshman Sophie Linn, earned All-Region honors when they placed 16th and 17th at the Harry Pritchett Running Park at the University of Alabama. The Ole Miss women finished strong on the season with a fifth-place overall team performance at the regional. The Rebel women started the season with a strong second-place finish at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic. Karlie Garcia and Linn led an all-freshman contingent that night. Next up, Cutright led the team in her season debut with a second-place individual performance and helped Ole Miss to a third-place overall team finish at the Commodore Classic in Nashville. The Lady Rebels then finished fifth at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational thanks to freshman Michaela Quinn who finished seventh in her college debut. Quinn and Cutright then led the women to an impressive fifth-place finish at the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind. Next step for the women was the SEC Championships. Cutright stepped up to the plate and turned in the second-best performance in school history, placing 11th overall. The Rebel women finished ninth overall in Gainesville, Fla.

    Mississippi State

    Concluding the 2013 season, Mississippi State cross country teams returned home with a pair of commendable finishes at Friday's NCAA South Regional hosted by the University of Alabama. The Lady Bulldogs totaled 198 points, while the men earned 242 as they each landed spots in seventh place.  MSU coach Houston Franks’ women out-scored conference competitors Auburn and Tennessee, while the MSU men topped rivals Alabama and Ole Miss. Each squad raced in a field comprised of nearly 30 teams and 200 athletes. Junior Damian Roszko and freshman Rhianwedd Price led the way for MSU, claiming the top spots for their squads in their respective races. Roszko posted a time of 30:26.34 in his first-ever 10K to finish 12th, while Price clocked a 20:33.58 to finish 12th in the 6K. The Bulldogs also saw leadership from senior John Valentine, who has provided top scores for the team all season. Finishing second for the MSU men, the distance veteran crossed the line 26th overall with a time of 30:46.89 in the 10K. Following Valentine was fellow senior Juan Sanchez (62nd, 31:35.25) and junior Cameron Vernier (65th, 31:37.92). On the women’s side, sophomore Cornelia Griesche battled to claim a spot in 23rd with a time of 20:49.78 in the 6K. Emma Neigel, who has also been an invaluable asset to the Lady Bulldogs in this year’s campaign, ran a 21:22.21 (52nd), while senior Katie Huston followed at 21:27.53 (58th). With the end of this year's cross country campaign, the Bulldogs now turn their focus to the 2013-2014 indoor track season, slated to begin Dec. 6 at Birmingham Southern.

    Missouri

    The Mizzou women had their highest placing at the Midwest Regional since 2006 with their sixth-place finish in Ames, IA, on Friday.  Once again leading the way for the black and gold was freshman Kaitlyn Fischer, who earned an All-Region honor and her spot at the NCAA Championship with her sixth-place finish in 20:26.40.  She is the only Tiger to qualify for the National Championship race, set for Saturday November 23 in Terre Haute, IN.  The Mizzou took eighth in the field, led by another All-Region finisher in senior Hayden Legg, who placed 22nd in 31:00.40.  Behind him was SEC Freshman of the Year T.J. Carey, who was once again the top freshman finisher in the field.  The Tigers now look forward to an exciting performance from Fischer at the NCAA Championship, and then will begin focusing on the upcoming indoor track season.

    South Carolina

    The Gamecocks finished 14th in the NCAA Southeast Regional outside of Charlottesville, Va., placing two of its runners in the top 30. Junior Meredith Mill posted her fourth 6K time to stand in the South Carolina top 15 with her 27th-place finish in 21:17.4. The only other Gamecock in history with four times in the top 15 in history is Kayla Lampe, who earned all-region honors last year. The race stands as the final collegiate competition for the former walk-on Mill, who will graduate in December and continue her education later in law school. Freshman Mary Reiser clocked her fastest 6K of the year and finished two spots behind Mill in 29th, with a 21:21.3 mark. Reiser posted the second-highest finish by a freshman in the region, also behind Lampe's finish a year ago. Sophomore Stephanie Berger continued her improvement as well, posting a personal-best time of 22:47.3 to rank fourth on the team. Only two scorers are scheduled to depart from this year's squad, while the team hopes to regain Lampe and Mary Fouse from last year's top-five finishers.

    Tennessee

    Tennessee junior Peter Okwera is going for his second All-America honor this weekend when he runs at the NCAA National Championships this weekend. The Vols' cross country leader placed fifth at the NCAA South Region Championships last week to qualify for the national meet. As a team, the Vols placed fifth in the South Region, a three-place improvement over last season. The UT women also improved this year with a ninth-place finish on the women's side. In all, five Tennessee runners earned All-Region honors, three men and two women. Daniel Tobin (21st) and Austin Whitelaw (22nd) finished within a second of each other to join Okwera as the Vols honorees. Sophomores Chelsea Blaase (10th) and Alexis Panisse (22nd) earned the honors on the women's side. Blaase placed in the top 10 at both the SEC and NCAA South Regional. She was just one spot away from earning an individual bid to the NCAA Championships.

    Texas A&M

    Texas A&M juniors Hillary Montgomery and Isaac Spencer each qualified for the NCAA Championships during the South Central region meet in Waco, Texas. Montgomery placed sixth in the women’s 6,000-meter race with a time of 20:27.0 while Spencer finished eighth in the men’s 10,000-meter race with a clocking of 30:22.4. They will represent the Aggies at the NCAA Championships held on Saturday, November 23 in Terre Haute, Indiana. The men race at noon (ET) while the women follow at 1:15 p.m. (ET) on the LaVern Gibson Championship course. Men - The A&M men placed seventh in team scoring at the South Central region meet, scoring 217 points. With Isaac Spencer, who earned All-Region honors, leading the squad in eighth place, Ryan Miller finished in 41st (31:40.0) with Austin Wells, the first Aggie frosh to complete the course, placing 53rd (32:06.7). Rounding out the team score were Austin Geerts in 56th (32:14.4) and freshman Cameron Villarreal in 59th (32:18.4). Another pair of freshmen finished as the sixth and seventh runners for A&M with Xavier Jimenez (32:31.3) and Ryan Teel (32:42.7) placing 68th and 78th in the field of 149 finishers. Women - Finishing in a tie for second place with SMU as each team totaled 116 points, the Aggie women lost the tie-breaker by a 4-1 count. The Mustangs claimed the automatic berth into the NCAA Championship field while the Aggies awaited the at-large selection process. Texas A&M was not one of the 13 schools selected for the national meet. Following the leading effort from Hillary Montgomery in sixth place, Aggie frosh Karis Jochen (21:13.6) was the second Aggie finisher as she placed 22nd while Grace Fletcher (21:22.1) finished 25th. Those three A&M runners earned All-Region honors. Completing the Aggie team score were Amanda Jenkins (21:26.9) and Gabby Salazar (21:42.0) as they placed 29th and 34th. The sixth and seventh runners for A&M included Katie Willard (22:26.7) and Sophie Blake (22:48.5), who placed 64th and 77th among the 140 finishers.

    Vanderbilt

    Vanderbilt returns to the NCAA Championships for the school record third straight year. Prior to the Commodores’ three-year streak the program had never been the Championships. Vanderbilt sends a veteran group to Terre Haute, Ind. led by first team All-SEC senior Liz Anderson. Anderson is coming off an eighth place finish at the South Regional at Tuscaloosa, Ala. Junior Claire Benjamin turned in the Dores’ second-best time in Tuscaloosa to earn All-Region honors. Benjamin and fellow junior Rebecca Chandler are set to make their Championships debut. Junior Amira Joseph makes her third appearance in the Championships after running solid races at the SEC Championships and South Regional. Sophomore Vanessa Valentine and freshmen Carmen Carlos and Lily Williams are both set to make their NCAA Championships debut after strong races last week in Tuscaloosa. Vanderbilt finished 28th last season at the Championships in Louisville, Ky. and sixth in 2011 on the same course in Terre Haute, Ind.