Gamecocks Take Seventh At Commodore Classic|
Sept. 15, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- South Carolina's cross country team proved it is much improved from 2011 on Saturday morning with a stellar performance at the Commodore Classic/SEC Preview meet. Led by freshman Kayla Lampe and senior Chelsea France, the Gamecocks placed seventh out of 24 teams at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn.
"I was really pleased with the team's effort this morning," South Carolina head coach Stan Rosenthal said. "We were hoping to be a little higher in the team scores, but it was a good second race. All of the freshmen and sophomores had 6K PRs today, and we can't really ask for more."
The Gamecocks finished ahead of LSU and Tennessee and just missed beating Georgia, finishing 15 points behind the Bulldogs.
The entire team followed coach Rosenthal's plan to get out hard, which they did. Lampe, who earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors for her performance in the Gamecock Invitational, had another strong showing on Saturday. Her race plan was to push the pace and take away everyone's finishing kick. The plan worked for all but one racer, as she finished second with a PR of 21:06.24. France was able to move up and placed 15th with a time of 21:47.03. She battled with the lead group, as Lampe's pace slowly thinned it. France's time was an early-season 6K PR and the second fastest in her life, only behind her 21:26 she set in last year's NCAA championships.
Four hundred meters into the race, Lampe was in the front of lead the lead pack, with France in the back of the same pack. The rest of the team was in the large second pack between 40th and 55th. Lampe took the lead up the first hill and held it until the last 300 meters of the race.
"Kayla was very impressive again," Rosenthal said. "She really pushed the pace and looked great the entire race, even at the end when she was passed. Some days you race awesome and still get beat. Second place in this field was another step to racing great at SEC's and NCAA's."
Freshman Mary Fouse ran the gutsiest race, as one of her spikes was stepped on less than 800 meters into the race. She ran over three miles barefoot to finish the race as the team's fifth runner, crossing the finish line in 73rd (23:12). Junior Penny Boswell was South Carolina's third finisher in 61st (22:56.98), followed closely by freshman Christine Kent, who placed 72nd with a PR of 23:09.88.
The Gamecocks will look to keep their momentum going when they return to action on Sept. 28 in the Charlotte Invitational at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, N.C.