Gamecocks Play Host to 2023 SEC Cross Country Championship
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Oct. 26, 2023) – For the first time since 2010, South Carolina will play host to the SEC Cross Country Championship. The Gamecocks will welcome the competing teams on Friday with the event being held at Charwood Golf Club (222 Clubhouse Drive, West Columbia, S.C. 29172).
The first race of the day will be the men’s 8K that will commence at 10:08 a.m., followed by the women’s race at 10:50 a.m. An awards ceremony for both races will follow the women’s 6K. Admission to the 2023 SEC Cross Country Championship will be free of charge and open to the public. Parking will be at an off-site lot: 900 Pine Ridge Drive, West Columbia, S.C. 29172.
Restrooms will be located at the start and finish line of the race, in addition to the bathrooms inside the clubhouse that will be open to the public. Outside food and beverage are allowed, but patrons are strongly encouraged to visit the grill inside the clubhouse that will be fully operational and open to the public.
EYE ON KOSGEI
Freshman phenom Judy Kosgei will make her much-anticipated SEC Cross Country Championship debut tomorrow, having won each of the three races that she has competed in this season. The Kenya native began the season with a win at the USC Upstate Eye Opener 5K, clocking a then program record time of 16:52.6. The following meet, at Charwood Golf Club, Kosgei bested her own 5K program record by running 15:52.9 to claim yet another win.
Kosgei has competed in one 6K event during the season, capturing the title at the 2023 Paul Short Run when she crossed the line at 19:54.9 to set yet another program record. Heading into the SEC Championship, Kosgei holds the fastest 5K in the SEC and currently ranks seventh in the 6K standings.
CROSS COUNTRY DEBUT
Silan Ayyildiz made a name for herself during the track & field season last year, earning Second Team All-American honors during the indoor season and Honorable Mention All-American nods during the outdoor campaign. Ayyildiz finished runner up at the SEC Indoor Championship in the mile (4:32.14) and then later that year became the first Gamecock in the women’s program history to claim the SEC Outdoor title in the 1500m when she ran 4:17.67. Ayyildiz will be making her Gamecock Cross Country debut on Friday and couldn’t be doing so at a bigger meet.
GAMECOCKS ON THE RISE
This year’s cross country squad has broken into the record books in historic fashion. Fifteen of the Top-50 5K marks in program history have come this season, including seven of the Top-10 marks being recorded at Charwood Golf Club. Within those 15 marks, 12 of the new slots belong to either sophomores or freshmen, displaying the youth movement occurring within the program. There are also four new 6K program marks, including Kosgei who holds the top spot on the chart.
CAROLINA AT THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Gamecocks will look to right the ship at the SEC Cross Country Championship. The last time that Carolina found themselves inside the Top 10 was when they placed ninth in 2012 in Nashville, Tenn. That season, Kayla Lampe led the charge with a 13th-place finish after running 21:02.30. The best overall team finish in program history was fifth place back in 1999 when the meet was also held in Nashville, Tenn.
The best overall individual finish was Sue McGhie in 1993 in Baton Rouge, La. when she crossed the finish line with a time of 17:34.0 (5K) to place sixth overall. The SEC Championship did not convert to the 6K event until 2000. Jenny Lake has the best 6K finish at the SEC Championship for the Gamecocks, posting seventh overall in 2003 when she ran 22:13.0. The Gamecocks have seen three individual runners finish inside the Top 10 at the SEC Championship within the program’s history.
The Gamecocks will send a total of 12 student-athletes to compete on Friday: Anya Arroyo, Silan Ayyildiz, Anna Boyd, Sylvia Chelangat, Hope Dominique, Gabriella Gait-Smith, Molly Joseph, Judy Kosgei, Sofie Kurzawa, Maria Lombardi, Claudia Satzke, Lily Weeks.