Sept. 28, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Friday afternoon the Gamecocks traveled to Charlotte for the Charlotte Invitational/NCAA Southeast Regional Preview at McAlpine Park, the same park where the Foot Locker South high school championships have been held for the past 25 years.
The 3:30pm start time under sunny skies made for another warm race and somewhat slower times on this usually fast course. The course narrows down and has a sharp right hand turn at 600 meters, making the start faster than normal.
The Gamecocks claimed 11th place out of 33 teams, wrapping up the meet with 296 points to finish ahead of regionally ranked Charlotte (338), the host school. With many of the top-ranked teams in the region competing on Friday, South Carolina gained valuable experience racing on the course for the NCAA Southeast Regional, which is being held on Nov. 9 for the first time ever at McAlpine Park.
The team placing was hurt by number two runner Chelsea France having to stop at 4K with a sore foot. Freshman Annie Grove stopped not to long afterwards, when she rolled her ankle on a rock. It was the same ankle she had sprained badly several weeks ago. The other four runners fought hard even after seeing Chelsea on the side of the course. Head coach Stan Rosenthal was proud of the team's effort, getting out fast and then not giving up seeing one of the their friend's and the teams No. 2 in pain with more than a mile to go.
For the third straight meet, freshman Kayla Lampe led the way, finishing third out of 233 runners with a time of 21:13.50. A native of Downingtown, Pa., Lampe has finished first, second and third in three meets this season.
The team got out well, perhaps too well, as Lampe was 5:19 at one mile, a little fast even for her. France was the sole Gamecock to keep her aggression at the start under control sitting in the front pack of 10 at 5:28. Next the young Gamecocks' pack tore through the mile between 5:34 and 5:43. The extra fast early pace combined with the heat made the last 2K more difficult than usual, causing the team to lose places at the end. However, no one raced poorly, they just were not able to finish strongly. With a little more control in the next race, the finish will be better.
Junior Penny Boswell was the next Gamecock to cross the finish line after Lampe as she placed 59th with a time of 23:02.06. Freshmen Mary Fouse (60th, 23:02.23), Anna Todd (95th, 23:31.36) and Christine Kent (104th, 23:44.23) rounded out the top five for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks also had seven runners compete in the 6K Green Race and placed four in the top 20, including three in the top 10, to win the race with 46 points. Freshman Lauren Kahre claimed seventh with a time of 23:30.68, and sophomore Alex Mullin took eighth with a mark of 23:30.70 to lead the way. Freshman Lannon McCoy (12th), freshman Stephanie Berger (18th, 23:43.45), sophomore Meredith Mill (24th), freshman Lisa Zimmer (26th) and freshman Shaina Manuel (33rd) also had strong showings for South Carolina. The Gamecocks still have much work to do if they are to meet their goal of top 10 at SEC's and top 15 at NCAA's and ending the season as a ranked NCAA Region team.
The Gamecocks will return to action on Friday, Oct. 12 in the Queens Royal Challenge at McAlpine Park and they are also scheduled to race in the NCAA Preview Meet in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, Oct. 13.
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