Runners from all 14 SEC schools were in action last weekend in the final races prior to the SEC Championship scheduled for Nov. 1 in Lexington, Ky. A recap of those meets follows:
The Alabama men's and women's cross country teams concluded regular-season competition with the men in action at the Princeton Invitational in Princeton, N.J., and women at the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday. Alabama men finished seventh overall, totaling 222 points from its scorers in the 8K at the Princeton Invitational. Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide women finished with three runners among the top-70 in the 6K and placed 19th in a highly competitive field that featured 37 teams. Seven Alabama men crossed the finish line in the men's 8K in Princeton. Freshman Noel Rotich led the way with a solid 11th place performance (24:22.1). In the women's race, For the second time this season, sophomore Mercy Chelangat crossed the finish line as the Crimson Tide's top scorer. The sophomore checked in at 20:46.6 to place 37th.
The Arkansas men's cross country team finished 13th at the Pre-National Invitational at the site of the 2019 NCAA Championships at LaVern Gibson Championship Course Saturday afternoon. As he has all season, Matt Young led the way for Arkansas, posting a top-30 finish with a 30th-place showing running 24:08.20. Placing four runners in the top-10, the No. 1 Razorback women's cross country team made a statement heard across the country as they dominated the Nuttycombe Invitational team title by a 36-point margin Friday afternoon at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course.
Florida women's cross country standout Jessica Pascoe became the first Florida women's cross country runner to earn four consecutive individual titles in their first four meets on Saturday, winning the women's 6k race at the Arturo Barrios Invitational to lead the Florida women to a third-place team finish. Her performance today tops Jennifer McGranahan's, who previously held the record for achieving three consecutive titles in her first three meets of the 1998 season. Additionally, Colin Schaefer would record a top-15 finish in the men's 8k race to pace the Florida men to a fourth-place team finish among the highly competitive field of teams at the meet. On the men's side, Florida (193 points) pulled out an impressive fourth-place finish, being without one of their top runners in redshirt senior Jack Guyton.
The Bulldogs put four runners in the top 50 and managed their top finish (fourth, 181 points) in the 8k White race at NCAA Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind. Thanks in part to redshirt freshman Nicholas Yanek's second top-10 individual finish of the year, Georgia managed to edge Vanderbilt by a point and finish ahead of 16 teams. Senior Jessica Drop was 27th to lead the Lady Bulldogs for the 18th time in her career and the third time this year with a 20:41.9 in the 6k Blue race against 258 other women at the meet. Georgia was 28th in the race after scoring 679 points.
Kentucky raced in Pre-Nationals on Saturday at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. Two teams competed for the Wildcats in the "blue" races while two other teams competed in the "open" races at the course that will host the NCAA Championships on Saturday, Nov. 23. In the blue races, the women's team finished 18th overall on 532 points in a 6,000-meter competition while the men's team finished 29th overall on 699 points over an 8k course. Washington won the women's blue race on 84 points and BYU won the men's blue race with 81 points.
The LSU men's and women's cross country squads traveled to College Station, Texas to finish their regular season at the 2019 Arturo Barrios Invitational at the Watts XC Course. The men got the day started by running the 8k and the women followed them with the 6k competition. The men's team finished in 14th place out of 27 teams with 343 points. The women's squad finished in 15th place with 476 points.
Ole Miss cross country concluded its regular season with the No. 8 Rebel men finishing fifth and the No. 17 Rebel women placing 10th at the Pre-National Invitational at Indiana State's LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course on Saturday. Ole Miss found itself against the best in the nation for the second straight meet, as the Rebel squads were among 21 schools ranked in the latest USTFCCCA National Rankings. Other Rebel men running were Cade Bethmann (24th, 23:58.1), Farah Abdulkarim (36th, 24:19.6), Mario Garcia Romo (45th, 24:23.5), Parker Scott (57th, 24:29.9), Michael Coccia (173rd, 25:33.2) and Dalton Hengst (175th, 25:36.5). Junior Maddie King was the top Rebel finisher for the third straight meet, finishing in 40th place at 20:51.9.
Seniors Stephen Jones and Sylvia Russell led the Mississippi State men's and women's cross country teams to two fifth-place finishes at the UAB Blazer Classic on Friday. Jones, competing for the first time this season, won the men's 8K with a personal-best time of 23:51.98. For the third time in 2019, Russell was the Bulldogs' highest finisher, crossing the line seventh. Russell's seventh-place finish marks her highest of the 2019 campaign.
Mizzou Cross Country concluded the 2019 regular season on Friday, competing in the Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin. With Mizzou matched up with more than 30 of the top college teams from around the nation, junior Sarah Chapman (Maidenhead, England) paced the women for the fourth straight meet, leading the squad to a 20th place team finish in the Women's A race. Redshirt senior Thomas George (Gloucester, England) led the Mizzou men's team in the Men's A Race by finishing 73rd overall and logging a time of 24:27.2, his best 8k mark of the season.
South Carolina cross country senior Anna Kathryn Stoddard notched a top-10 finish at the East Carolina Pirate Invitational on Friday evening at Overton's Lake Kristi. In the final 6K of the regular season, Stoddard finished sixth with a time of 21:09.7. Stoddard's time marked her second-best 6K, just one second short of her PR (21:08.5). Finishing second for the Gamecocks was freshman Hillary Neely who came in at 22:27.6. Coming into college having never competed in a cross country race, Neely has been a solid top-five performer for South Carolina in her inaugural campaign.
Led by a top-15 individual finish from junior Alex Crigger, Tennessee men's cross country placed fifth out of 26 teams at the Arturo Barrios Invitational Saturday morning. This marks the end of the regular season as the program gears up for the SEC Championships in less than two weeks. A Johnson City native, Crigger clocked in at 24:07.3 for his fastest 8K of the 2019 cross country campaign, placing 14th overall. Sophomore Karl Thiessen was the next man across for the Vols as the Abingdon, Va. native recorded a time of 24:32.7 for 33rd place. Tennessee redshirt-sophomore John Elrod finished 44th in 24:46.7, while Conner Hawkins (25:08.6) and Max Barbour (25:09.0) completed the Tennessee top five finishing 67th and 69th, respectively.
Texas A&M men finished second and the Aggie women placed fourth among a field of 28 teams during the second annual Arturo Barrios Invitational held on the Dale Watts ('71) Cross Country Course on Saturday morning. Eric Casarez finished sixth to lead the A&M men as they totaled 165 points to place second behind Middle Tennessee State, the No. 17 team in the nation, who won the team title with 41 points. Cal Baptist finished third with 172 points while Florida (193) and Tennessee (217) rounded out the top five.
Against some of the nation's best, Vanderbilt women's cross country finished 15th and the men finished fifth at Pre-Nationals on Saturday afternoon. At the national championship course at Indiana State, the Commodores were led by freshman Grace Jensen on the women's side and sophomore Nick Laning in the men's race. In a women's race that featured 10 nationally-ranked teams, Jensen was the first Commodore to cross the finish in 71st place, completing the 6k course in 21:09. Ana Wallace was not far behind with an 82nd-place showing in 21:18. On the men's side, Laning crossed fifth in a time of 25:01. Harrison Thomas and Matthew Estopinal were stride-for-stride at the finish to place 17th and 18th, respectively at 25:26, while Caleb Van Geffen finished 49th (26:01) and Jonah Bird capped the scoring for the Commodores with a 97th-place finish (27:07).