Gamecock Cross Country Opens Season with Eye Opener at USC Upstate
Carolina cross country opens a full slate of meets with an in-sate trip to Spartanburg
The Gamecock cross country squad is set to open its season at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at the Eye Opener hosted by USC Upstate in Spartanburg.
The women’s race is set for 5K rather than a 6K race, which is what the Gamecocks will see at the SEC Championships and Southeast Regional among other meets. Cross country coach Andrew Allden said 5K races at USC Upstate and Winthrop (Sept. 18) will help his team ease into the 6K distance and allow them to train harder earlier in the season.
Live results for the Eye Opener can be found at timinginc.com.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Allden unveiled the Gamecocks’ cross country schedule on Aug. 31, when it was announced that three events this fall will be held in South Carolina. The Gamecocks are set to compete in a total of six weekends in 2021.
The Paul Short Run on the campus of Lehigh promises to bring quality competition for a young Gamecock group. The trip to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is slated for Oct. 1. Carolina also makes a trip to East Carolina to run in the Pirate Invitational to face quality opponents on Oct. 15.
The SEC Championships kick off the postseason on Oct. 29 in Columbia, Mo. The Gamecocks finished 11thas a team at the conference meet a year ago and were led by top finisher Heather Stone. Stone finished in 31st with a time of 21:30.21.
The Southeast Regional calls Lexington, Ky., home this year. Selections to the NCAA Championships will be earned on Nov. 12.
The Gamecock squad has the task of replacing key runners in 2021. Carolina lost four of its top five runners from the SEC Championships in 2020.
Junior Hannah Twine figures to be a key runner for Carolina. She had her 2020 season cut short due to injury, but she scored for the Gamecocks at the FSU Invite.
Freshman Hope Dominique is another key returner for Carolina. She was the 10th-best freshman at the SEC Championships last year and was the fourth Carolina athlete across the line in all three meets she ran in.
Carolina also brings in a crop of new athletes with freshman Syrah Ghijselings entering the fold from Belgium. She boasts a 4:24.4 personal best in the 1,500 meters on the track.
Alex Constantino, Ally Wilson, Lily Weeks and Sarah Neville are also key additions to the Gamecocks’ incoming class.
COACH ALLDEN ON THE MEET
Cross Country Coach Andrew Allden on …
… how he feels headed into the season:
“Youth is a big part of our top seven and top eight. We graduated four of our top five from the SEC Championships last year. That’s a challenge to replace that. I’m particularly looking forward to getting Hannah Twine back to full strength. She’s been progressing nicely. I’m pleased with how our freshman from Belgium, Syrah Ghijselings, is progressing. She is a little bit ahead of schedule after recovering from an injury.”
… how the lineup is stacking up:
“That’s part of what the next two races are about. I try not to make decisions about who races at the big championships on anything other than racing. We’ve had a number of people who look better in practice than in previous years, but I want to see it on the course. We’ve got some freshmen that will be easing into the lineup over the first few meets. A nice thing about these first two meets is that they are 5K meets, which means we can train a little harder and ease people in a little bit. The goal is to get to Lehigh and have people ready to race 6K races.”
… how training has been:
“I feel like we’ve progressed pretty nicely over the first few weeks. They often do some strength work in the summer, so I’m happy to have a couple weeks back with them to get them ready to race. In terms of the quality and effort of our workouts, it’s been really solid.”