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Women's Cross Country  . 

Gamecocks Finish 11th at 2020 SEC Championships

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s cross country competed its 2020 season at the SEC Championships in Baton Rouge, La., finishing in 11th as a team among 13 teams competing. The Gamecocks had four finishers inside the top 65 and finished in front of Auburn and Texas A&M while Tennessee did not compete due to positive tests prior to the race.

Heather Stone was Carolina’s top individual finisher, finishing in 41st in a time of 21:20.8. Seniors Brooke Wilson and Rachel Hensler both posted lifetime 6K bests to finish in 51st and 60th. Freshman Hope Dominique was outstanding in her postseason debut, finishing in 62nd for Carolina. Arkansas claimed the team title while Mercy Chelangat of Alabama was the individual champion. 

“We are very pleased with our 11th place in a challenging year,” Cross Country coach Andrew Allden said. “Obviously you can’t take anything away from Heather [Stone’s] performance but our No. 2 through No. 4 runners all were great once again today and really were the reason why we were able to finish where we did today. They all ran personal bests, which is all you can hope for in an event like this.”

For Wilson, her 51st-place finish improved her SEC best finish of 92nd that she posted in 2017. Wilson’s time of 21:31.3 improved her lifetime best in the 6K by 13 seconds. Hensler came in at 60th, easily her best SEC finish in her final semester at Carolina. Hensler made a huge move after a mile into the race where she was sitting in 81st, moving up to as high as 51st before finishing in 60th. 

“Rachel [Hensler] in particular has came back from injury numerous times in her career. She is graduating this semester, but I don’t think of this as a celebratory race, she just really laid it all out there today and helped us achieve goals that the team set out for.”

In 62nd for the Carolina was Dominique, who improved her time in her second collegiate competition in the championship length of 6K. Dominique finished 10th among all freshmen in the SEC in a time of 21:46.1.

“Hope, we can’t say enough about how she did today,” Allden said. “Top 10 as freshmen in this race and a personal best for a 6K. A great little backstory to that is that she strained her big toe in the last race and couldn’t run for a week. Then she comes out and puts up this time. She overcame a lot, for anyone, but for a freshman to come in and overcome that is tremendous. She really rose to the occasion today.”

Kira Jenkins finished as the Gamecocks fifth finisher, cementing the Gamecocks 11th place finish as a team. The Gamecocks 11th place finish is the highest for the Cross Country program since 2012 when the team finished in ninth. 

Rounding out the remaining Gamecock finishers was Sarah Riser (23:54.7), Hannah Cella (24.00.0), Savannah Bowers (24:30.7), Kathleen Abrams (24.39.7) and Katerina Hendrix (25:25.8). For more information on the Gamecocks, continue to check back with Subscribe to South Carolina on Stanza to get schedule updates directly in your calendars.