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Oct. 11, 2004

USC women’s cross country team had a strong showing as they finished sixth (183) of 20 teams, only 11 points out of fourth place and topping SEC rival LSU, in the Auburn University Invitational in Auburn, Alabama on Monday.

Samford University finished first with 50 points, followed by Auburn (78), Mississippi State (81), Alabama (172), Georgia State (178), South Carolina (183) and LSU (193).

Leading the Gamecocks in her best race of the season was senior Jenny Lake who finished third with a time of 18:06.22. At the gun, Lake jumped into the front group of ten with defending SEC Champion Angela Homan, of Auburn. Amy Wike raced into the top 30, while freshman Rebecca Chain as near the top 50. The rest of the team was in the middle of the pack.

At the half way mark, Homan pulled away from the pack on her way to a first place finish. Lauren Blankenship, from Samford, and Lake raced after Homan and away from the rest of the field. Blankenship opend a lead over Lake at two miles of 50 meters. Over the next mile Lake closed the margin to 20 meters but could not pull any closer as she finished the race in third place.

Wike also ran her best race of the season. She fought hard to stay in the top 25 and came away with a 24 place. Chain too had her best race of the season, moving from 50 to 27th place over the last two miles of the 5K race. Rounding out the top five was sophomore Tristan Rackow in 61st and sophomore Karen Wigal in 70th.

“I am extremely happy with the team today. Jenny Lake showed the form that made her All-Sec last year,” Coach Stan Rosenthal said. “Amy and Rebecca raced well and if they continue to improve could be two of the top freshmen at the SEC meet.”

USC Cross Country will be back in action on October 30 at the SEC Championships.