The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC Cross Country Roundup - Sept. 16

255 days ago
Photo: Daniel Melograna

SEC Cross Country Roundup - Sept. 16

The Alabama women's cross country team claimed second at the Montevallo Falcon Classic, highlighted by senior Alexa Cruz's fifth-place finish in the women's 5K on Saturday. Leading the way for the Crimson Tide's runner-up finish, senior Alexa Cruz recorded a 5K time of 18:32.43 to place fifth overall while also shaving off over 40 seconds from her season-best. Six of her teammates also improved their times from last weekend's showing at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic. Five other Alabama runners finished inside the top-25 to secure the Crimson Tide's second-place finish. Seniors Hannah Howard, (22nd, 19:53.24) and Shannon Marsh, (18th, 19:37.96), along with sophomores Lauren Brackin (13th, 19:05.18), Leahrose Mami (21st, 19:52.14) and Riley Schelp (11th 18:57.19). Making her first appearance in Crimson, sophomore Sydney Milani rounds out the women's lineup (49th, 21:30.55). Earlier in the morning, in the men's 8K, all three Alabama men finished inside the top-45. Junior Paul Selden ran the best time among the Crimson Tide men, completing the race in 26:21.10 to finish in 34th. Junior Scott Platek finished 44th (26:47.03), while freshman Alex Mielke rounded out the men's showing (45th, 26:51.29).

Auburn sophomore Faith Bett, making her 2019 cross country debut, finished seventh in the women's 6k race to lead the Tigers efforts at the Commodore Classic at Percy Warner Park on Saturday. Bett, who redshirted in 2018, crossed in 21:27.5, to post her best place as a collegiate runner. The Eldoret, Kenya, native's previous best finish was a 15th-place showing at the Crimson Classic as a freshman two years ago. Freshman Hannah Dyal was Auburn's second finisher, crossing in 22:39.2 for 58th place. Sophomores GiGi Maddox (78th, 22:59.8), Hannah Tarwater (81st, 23:01.4) and Abbey Zane (83rd, 23:03.5) rounded out the Tigers' team scorers as all three crossed the finish line within four seconds of each other. On the men's side, sophomore Silas Kipngetich was the Tigers' top finisher with a time of 25:36.8 over 8k to take 44th place. Junior Tommy McDonough was eight seconds behind Kipngetich, finishing 50th in 25:44.3. Auburn's scoring was rounded out by junior Jack Rogers (91st, 26:28.4), sophomore Jackson Thomas (101st, 26:51.7) and freshman Evan Rogers (116th, 27:14.5). Both Auburn programs finished the meet 12th in the team standings.

The Mountain Dew Invitational crown is back in the hands of both Florida men's and women's cross country teams, as the Gators swept first-place team finishes on Friday morning in front of an electric home crowd at UF's Mark Bostick Golf Course. The title serves as the Florida women's sixth consecutive Mountain Dew Invitational title, as senior Jessica Pascoe collected her second consecutive first-place finish to become the second Gator to achieve four top-5 finishes at the home meet. The last time both Florida men's and women's cross country teams swept Mountain Dew Invitational titles was 2016. The Florida men came out on top with 40 team points on the day, with all top-five runners finishing in the top-10, while North Florida (53 points) and Embry-Riddle (142 points) followed in second and third place respectively. The women finished with 30 points, seeing five runners finish in the top-10, as Tampa (107 points) and North Florida (133 points) followed. Additionally, the Gators enjoyed 10 personal bests on the day between the men's and women's teams.

Georgia senior Jessica Drop opened her final cross country season with a runner-up individual finish to lead the Bulldogs at the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday morning. Drop, who trained through the season opener at home two weeks ago, led her teammates for the 16th time in her career to help deliver her team a sixth-place finish (185 points) in the 6k race. The Bulldog men finished ninth (220) in the 8k race with redshirt freshman Nicholas Yanek grabbing top honors for UGA for the second consecutive week. Drop was second out of the 192 women's runners after clocking a 21:08.5 to finish just behind Indiana's Bailey Hertenstein (21:08.0). Drop's twin sister, Samantha, led the Lady Bulldogs in the season opener but trained through this weekend's meet. Yanek, who was only racing in his second collegiate cross meet, was the third freshman across the 8k line and 17th overall thanks to his 24:56.4. He was 10th at the season opener to be No. 1 Bulldog finisher in that meet as well.

Ole Miss
The No. 15 Ole Miss women's cross country team put together a superb early-season team performance, winning the 2019 Commodore Classic against a competitive field on Saturday morning. The Rebel women's pack running mentality earned them a significant 76-92 win over No. 26 Ohio State in the women's 6K race. Ole Miss clocked a scoring spread of just 29.3 seconds, which was more than a half minute faster than the Buckeyes' 1:04.2. Junior Maddie King, an NCAA All-South Region runner in 2018, led the way for the Rebels in 10th place at 21:32.9. She was one of five Rebels within the top-25 ahead of sophomore Courtney Hopkins (12th, 21:40.8), junior Victoria Simmons (15th, 21:50.3), junior Anna Elkin (16th, 21:50.3) and junior Emma McClellan (24th, 22:02.2). Other Rebel scorers included junior Nicole Rice (27th, 22:09.3) and redshirt freshman Cate Tracht (39th, 22:20.8). The Rebel men, meanwhile, placed fourth overall in the men's 8K with a shorthanded squad. Ole Miss was led by redshirt junior Parker Scott (10th, 24:41.9) in his first race in nearly two years after missing the entire 2018-19 cross country and track seasons. Sophomore Dalton Hengst, the reigning 2019 SEC Outdoor Co-Freshman Runner of the Year, was the next best finisher for the men in 24th place at 25:09.2.

Mississippi State
The Mississippi State women's cross country team earned a 14th-place finish on Saturday at Vanderbilt's Commodore Classic. Sylvia Russell paced the Bulldogs, finishing 35th with a time of 22:18.9. After Russell's finish, Sydney Steely (61st), Kristy Terp (81st), Ava Weems (83rd) and Mary Beth Woodward (109th) rounded out the top five for MSU. Silvia De La Pena Garibay made her collegiate debut, finishing the race in 24:28.2.

Mizzou Cross Country continued the 2019 season in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday morning, competing in the Commodore Classic. The Tigers had both the men's and women's teams post top-5 finishes as the women placed fourth with 141 team points while the men came in fifth with 136. Junior Sarah Chapman (Maidenhead, England) finished 11th overall for the Mizzou women while redshirt senior Thomas George (Gloucester, England) and senior Kieran Wood (Cambridge, England) led the men's side by both posting top-15 finishes. The Mizzou women placed a trio of runners in the top-25 as Chapman, redshirt senior Jordyn Kleve (Urbandale, Iowa) and freshman Jenna Schwartz (Waterloo, Illinois) paced the Tigers. In their first 6K races with the Tigers, Chapman and Schwartz put up times of 21:34.3 and 22:00.6, respectively. Meanwhile, junior Lexi Maddox (Riverside, Mo.) set a personal best by posting a time of 22:57.1, topping her 23:18.5 mark at the Bradley Pink Classic on October 12 last season. On the men's side, George and Wood led the Tigers to a fourth-place overall finish with George finishing 11th with a time of 24:44.8 while Wood came in 14th place at 24:52.7. With team finishes of fourth and fifth place, the Tigers placed second among all SEC competition at the meet.

The Lady Vols earned their second victory of the season as Tennessee cross country competed at the University of Virginia's Cavalier Classic Saturday morning. Sophomore Katie Thronson paced the Big Orange with her first collegiate individual win, clocking a meet record time of 17:01.7 over the five-kilometer course. Thronson tabbed a first-place finish and was followed closely by Sydney Seymour (17:21.5) and Megan Murray (17:24.6) who placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Murray's time was a personal record by nearly eight seconds. Tennessee fielded a team of five on the men's side and placed fourth at the meet with 131 points. In his second cross country race as a Tennessee Vol, Brayden Hamblen led the Big Orange with a 25:29.5 clocking over the eight-kilometer course. Senior Adam Johnston was UT's second runner across the finish line with a time of 26:04.9. Devin Sullivan, Gashaw Duhamel and Nick Boogades each finished within 11 seconds of each other to complete the Tennessee top-five.

Texas A&M
A pair of team titles opened the cross country season for the Aggies at the Texas A&M Invitational held Friday morning on the Dale Watts '71 Cross Country Course. The A&M women scored 18 points while the Aggie men tallied 50 for their respective team victories. Kelsie Warren and Ashley Driscoll finished first and second in the women's 5,000-meter race as A&M bettered the field of six teams. Warren claimed the victory in 17:27.6 with Driscoll runner-up in 17:50.8. Wes McPhail led the Aggie men, placing third in the 8,000-meter race with a time of 24:52.5. Abraham Chirchir of UT-Rio Grande Valley won the race in 24:37.0 with Baylor's TJ Sugg runner-up in 24:52.5. Texas A&M scored 50 points for the men's team title over a field of five teams. West Texas A&M claimed the runner-up spot at 66 points over Baylor (67), UTRGV (76) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (92).

The Vanderbilt women finished fifth in a quality field at the Commodore Classic Saturday, while sophomore Nick Laning put together the strongest performance of his collegiate career to pace the men's squad. Utilizing top-20 individual finishes by Caroline Pietrzyk and Grace Jensen, the Commodore women finished with 163 points, just 22 points behind Missouri and ahead of SEC teams Georgia (6th place) and Auburn (12th place). The Vanderbilt men claimed 10th place, two spots ahead of Auburn, with 290 points. The meet, which drew several 2018 NCAA Championship qualifying teams in both men's and women's divisions, was held at Vanderbilt's Percy Warner Park home course. Middle Tennessee and Ole Miss claimed team titles in the men's and women's races, respectively.