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Nov. 8, 2007

The South Carolina cross country team is set to compete at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship on Sat., Nov. 10 at EP Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky. The 6,000-meter race is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m. EST. The top two teams in the race are guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Championships, while the third and fourth place teams will be in the at-large pool.

The Gamecocks, ranked as high as 15th in the region this fall, are now unranked. Losing lead runner Casey Gale to injury has increased the teams’ spread between the five scoring runners.

“In September, with Gale, the spread from #1 to #5 was 45 seconds, while it increased to 92 seconds at the SEC championship two weeks ago,” Head Cross Country Coach Stan Rosenthal said.

The NCAA team will be led by senior Rebecca Chain and freshman Ashley Evens. They have been the top-two finishers for USC each race this season. Juniors Callie Rabun, Kelsey Bristol, Megan Robers and freshmen Cassity Brewer and Tara Tae will complete the varsity squad. Freshman Courtney Bowen is the alternate.

“We have had slightly disappointing finishes at our last couple meets so we are looking to end the season on a good note this weekend. We have been having really good practices, with a lot of people running PRs in practice, so hopefully we can find a way to have that translate to the race. It’s all about having the right mindset and believing in ourselves,” senior Rebecca Chain said.

Approximately 250 runners will toe the starting line this weekend. The top four runners that are not on the top-two teams will be awarded spots in the championship field.

South Carolina and Kentucky are the two SEC teams in the Southeast Region. There are 45 NCAA Division I teams in the region, making it the largest in the NCAA.