South Carolina brings back experienced group for 2017
South Carolina ranks fifth out of nine SEC teams in the field two weeks ahead of conference meet
South Carolina wins with 18 points in the Division I standings
South Carolina tops the Division I teams competing in this year's event
3.79 cumulative GPA earns Carolina the second team title since 2008
Shots from the Gamecocks season opening cross country meet.
A 30-year veteran of distance coaching, Andrew Allden returned to South Carolina as the assistant track coach for distance and cross country for the 2013-14 season and enters the 2017-18 season with a talented group of distance runners.
Carolina's 2017 cross country season saw great progress, as a young group of Gamecocks made great strides on the regional and conference levels. Carolina finished 12th at the SEC Championships, their best finish since 2012, and they earned a USTFCCCA Southeast Regional ranking for the first time since 2014. The Gamecocks earned the USTFCCCA's All-Academic Team award, and sophomore Anna Kathryn Stoddard clocked a pair of sub-22 6K times, becoming the 14th Gamecock to accomplish the feat.
On the track, the Gamecocks had much success in 2017. Otis Jones qualified for the NCAA East Regional meet in the 800m for the second-straight season and advanced out of the first round for the first time in his career. Jones and Carson Strom (5000m) set new Carolina top-10 marks indoors on the men's side, while the women's 4x800m relay squad ran top-10 times both indoors and outdoors. Allden also coached Allie Mueller to a 1500m PR of 4:31.35, seventh-best in program history.
The 2016 cross country team won three meets, the Carolina Classic, Winthrop/adidas Invitational and Gamecock Invitational. They once again posted a strong classroom effort, as Carolina earned USTFCCCA All-Academic distinction for the 16th consecutive year.
The 2016 track & field season was very successful for Allden's crew. Otis Jones qualified for the NCAA East Regional as a freshman, just missing a quarterfinal spot by finishing 23rd in the first round. Under Allden's watch, the Gamecocks added 12 new program top-10 entries in the middle distance and distance events, and Mary Reiser finished 10th in the SEC in the 10000m run.
In the 2014 season, his cross country team won four meets for the season and an 18th-place finish at the regional meet. This success came despite the fact that 19 members of the team were in either their first or second year. The team's upperclassmen provided plenty of leadership though, including junior Anna Todd who recorded the program's fifth-fastest 6K time ever.
Moving in to the track season, Todd and the distance group continued to flourish with Allden at the helm. On the men's side indoors, Kevin Keating ran the sixth-fastest 800 and fourth-fastest 1000 in program history, and Alex Sullivan ran the seventh-fastest 1000. Todd led the women with the program's fastest 1000, third-fastest mile, and fourth-fastest 3000 indoors along with a spot on the second-fastest 4x800 relay team in school history. Outdoors, the youthful Gamecock women climbed in to the program record book in the 10K (Hannah Giangaspro) and Steeplechase (Allie Whitley and Sarah Taylor).
Allden spent five years at the Palmetto state's flagship institution as its head cross country and distance coach from the fall of 1996 through the spring of 2001, helping head coach Curtis Frye's teams to new heights. The women's track team finished fourth or better in the Southeastern Conference all five years with Allden on staff, including winning the 1999 outdoor championship. Twice, the team finished second in the NCAA Indoor Championships. He coached four-time All-American Charmaine Howell (800m) as well as 1998 10,000m All-American Tanya Povey. On the men's side, Marvin Watts (once) and Otukile Lekote (twice) both earned All-America honors in the 800m during Allden's tenure, with Lekote winning the first of his two outdoor 800m titles under Allden's guidance. Both Watts and Lekote were also SEC champions.
In his five years as the Gamecocks' head cross country coach, he led the team to its best finish in the SEC in 1999. That season, Allden had two pupils, Sara Hadwin and Joyce Peebles, earn All-SEC accolades, the only year the Gamecocks have had two runners earn that distinction. Both Hadwin and Peebles were South Carolina natives.
After his stint in Columbia, Allden moved to Coastal Carolina to take over the Chanticleers' men's program. His stint as the men's coach at Coastal Carolina still stands out as some of the best years for the Chanticleers. His 2003 team won the Big South Conference title, ending a dynasty by Liberty. Three student-athletes made the NCAA Championships that he coached, including top distance pupil Terak Kipchiris. The Big South Coach of the Year and Southeast Region Coach of the Year in 2003, Allden helped Kipchiris win the Big South Cross Country Championships individual title twice and earn all-region honors two times as well. Kipchiris became the first CCU male to compete in an NCAA Championship in cross country or track, earning an individual spot in the cross country field twice in 2002 and 2003 and in the 3000m steeplechase in 2004.
In 2004, Allden also served as a men's assistant coach for distance in the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Hungary. In other international work, he was the practice track director for distance at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and has spent the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons with the USOC as a endurance team coach.
For the nine years prior to his return to the Gamecocks, Allden has run AA Elite Coaching in North Carolina, coaching many professional and amateur athletes in the Raleigh-Durham area. Karjuan Williams ranks as his most prominent charge in recent years, as he finished fifth in the 2010 USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in the 800-meter run and twice came in fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championship..
He is also a USATF Level I and II certified coach as well as a Level I and II endurance instructor and serves as the USATF East Coast Coordinator for Level I Coaching Education, directing more than a dozen coaching schools per year on the eastern seaboard. In his over 14 years of coaching education, he's helped educate over 3,000 coaches. Also, in 2014, he co-wrote the Endurance portion of the USATF Level I Coaching Manual.
Earlier in his career, he coached at Tulane, taking over as the interim head coach in 1995. During that season, his team set nine school records, won seven individual conference titles and saw 19 performers earn All-Conference USA accolades.
This is the third time Allden has worked with Coach Frye, after serving on his staff at North Carolina from 1989-93 as well as his 1996-2000 stint at South Carolina in this same capacity. His 1993 women's cross country team with the Tar Heels advanced to the NCAA Championships, ranking eighth nationally, while his 1991 men's team also made the national finals. He also guided one ACC individual men's cross country champion, one runner-up and seven All-ACC cross country harriers.
Allden earned his bachelors from Emory University in English and History in 1986 and holds a masters in sports administration from Georgia in 1991. Allden helped Emory's cross country team to one of its three NCAA Championship berths during his time there.
Allden is married to Tara Disy Allden, and they have one daughter, Kathleen, who already is a national qualifier in the junior Olympics in track and cross country.
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