Oct. 30, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina is back in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Oct. 31, for the 2014 SEC Championship, hosted by Alabama at the Harry Pritchett Running Course. Friday’s women’s 6K is slated to start at 10 a.m., ET.
The Gamecocks had a chance to run the championship course two weeks ago where they finished eighth at the Crimson Classic on Oct. 17. In the 5K race, junior Anna Todd recorded the eighth-fastest time in school history, clocking in at 17:44.99.
Running for Carolina on Friday at the championship will be juniors Stephanie Berger, Christine Kent and Anna Todd, redshirt sophomore Ashley Miller, sophomore Mary Reiser, redshirt freshman Meri Heneage, and freshmen Hannah Giangaspro, Regina Schreiber, Allie Sprague and Monica York.
The SEC features two teams ranked in the latest USTFCCCA National Coaches poll with Arkansas coming in at No. 5 and Vanderbilt at No. 23. Regionally, Missouri ranks sixth in the Midwest, Arkansas is first and Texas A&M is sixth the South Central and Kentucky is 11th in the Southeast. The South Region has seven SEC teams ranked; Vanderbilt (2nd), Alabama (3rd), Auburn (6th), Mississippi State (7th), Georgia (10th), Florida (11th) and Tennessee (14th).
Date: Friday, Oct. 31
Time: 10 a.m. ET
Location: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Course: Harry Pritchett Running Course
Results: Live Results
REVISITING THE 2013 SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
The Gamecocks finished 12th at last season’s SEC Championship behind a 15th-place finish from Meredith Mill, who ran the fourth-fastest 6K in school history. Then-freshman Mary Reiser earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors after placing 33rd.
TODD AT THE FRONT OF THE PACK IN `14
In all four meets that Todd has competed in this season, the junior has led the Gamecocks, posting personal best times in each of her last three meets (Charlotte Invitational 6K, 21:58.9; Paul Short Run 6K, 21:02; Crimson Classic 5K, 17:44.9).
YORK EARNS FIRST COLLEGIATE WIN
Freshman Monica York claimed her first win at South Carolina on Oct . 8, finishing the two-mile race at the USC Open #2 in 11:53.95. On Oct. 14, she was named SEC Freshman Runner of the Week for the win. She led the Gamecocks to their fourth win of the season and third at home.
RESETTING PERSONAL RECORDS
On Oct. 4, South Carolina sent 12 athletes to the 41st Annual Paul Short Run in Bethlehem, Pa., with 10 of them returning home with a new personal record in the 6K. The Gold 6K featured more than 20 teams that were ranked in the Top 15 of their region, including three Top 15 teams nationally and the University of Guelph of Ontario, which won the competition.
For the third consecutive meet this season, Todd led the Gamecocks as the junior ran the fifth-fastest time in school history at 21:02 at the Paul Short Run. Her time was just over 21 seconds shy of teammate Kayla Lampe’s school record, which was set in 2012. Only three Carolina runners have posted a faster time than Todd, with each earning All-SEC honors at one point during their careers.
With South Carolina’s win on Sept. 26 at the Charlotte Invitational, the Gamecocks won their third-straight meet for the first time during the 2000s.
TWICE IS NICE
With her individual win at the Charlotte Invitational, Todd grabbed her second win in as many meets after sitting out South Carolina’s first meet of the season. In the process of the win, Todd set a then-personal best in the 6K with a time of 21:58.9, more than 21 seconds faster than her previous best from 2013.
EXPERIENCE RISING TO THE TOP
With 15 freshman, 13 being true freshmen, on this year’s roster, several of the team’s most experienced runners have been stepped up this season. Todd and Berger accounted for three of the team’s four individual wins. The two, along with Kent and Reiser did not finish outside of the top eight in any of Carolina’s first three meets of the season.
Although Carolina has won its opening two meets several times since 2000, one thing the team has not done until this season is score a perfect 15 points in each of its opening wins.
SEEING GARNET IN THE FRONT
In its opening two meets, South Carolina runners continuously finished one after another. At the Gamecock Invitational, Carolina went 1-9 and placed 13 runners in the top 15. Two weeks later, at the USC Open #1, the Gamecocks had 17 racers finish in the top 20.
BERGER GETS FIRST WIN
At the opening meet of the season, the Carolina Invitational, Berger earned the first win of her Gamecock career. The West Salem, Ohio, native clocked in at 19:00.65 (5K), to lead a pack of eight Gamecocks, as Carolina finished 1-9.
The win at the Carolina Invitational marked the third time in the last four years that South Carolina claimed a win in its season-opening meet.
FRESHMEN STEPPING UP
Of the eight freshmen that competed for the Gamecocks in the opening meet, six being true freshmen, all eight finished in the top 15. Sprague was the top finisher of the group, claiming second with a time of 19:14.26.
Two weeks later, the Gamecocks again placed eight freshmen in the top 15, with seven being true freshmen. Giangaspro led the group with a third-place finish with a time of 18:50.46. She was one of four runners with a sub-19-minute time.
Coach Allden has considered this year’s freshman class “top-to-bottom to be one of the strongest recruiting classes [the program] has had.” Leading the group of 13 are Florida natives Giangaspro, a top 3200-meter runner in the state, and Emily Harding, who posted a Top 30 nationally in the 1600 meters in 2013. Outside of Florida, the freshman class hails from the Carolinas, the Mid-Atlantic region and Illinois.
REISER LEADING THE WAY
SEC PRESEASON WATCH LIST
Joining Reiser on this year’s SEC Cross Country Preseason Watch List was Lampe, who did not compete during the 2013 season due to injury, but returned to compete this season at the Paul Short Invitational, posting a 6K time of 22:24. The redshirt junior garnered SEC All-Freshman Team honors in 2012 and Second-Team All-SEC accolades with a 13th-place showing at the SEC Championships (21:02.30). Later that season, she earned All-Southeast Region honors, finishing eighth with a time of 20:40.43, which is the fastest 6K time in South Carolina history.
Despite losing their top runner from a season ago, the Gamecocks returned their next six runners in Reiser (sophomore), Todd (junior), Berger (junior), Kent (junior), Martha McCoy (sophomore), along with the possibility of Lampe (junior).
With 27 athletes on the 2014 roster, the Gamecocks have 13 new faces on the team this fall that mix in with six others who joined the program last year, meaning 70 percent of the team has only been at South Carolina for a year or less.
LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE
The Gamecocks are led by second-year coach Andrew Allden as assistant track coach in charge of distance and cross country, who reunited last year with head track and field coach Curtis Frye after 12 years away from Columbia. Allden brings 28 years of coaching experience to the Gamecocks in regards to training.
The Gamecocks will take the two weeks to prepare for the NCAA Southeast Regional in Louisville, Ky., at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park. The women’s 6K will begin at 1 p.m., ET.