Gamecock Harriers Finish Fourth At Charlotte Invite With Two Top Runners Missing
Oct. 2, 2009
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Running under cloudy and cool conditions at McAlpine Park, South Carolina's cross country team gave a great effort at the Charlotte Invitational Friday afternoon. Missing top runner Dani Barnes and No. 3 runner Ashley Evens for separate reasons, the rest of the team stepped up and had a terrific race. Racing over 20 teams and 200-plus runners, the Gamecocks finished fourth behind three ranked teams - host Charlotte was first, followed by Clemson and USC Upstate.
Coach Stan Rosenthal held out Barnes due to a slight shin injury Friday while Evens did not make the trip to be with her family. Both harriers are team captains for the Gamecocks.
Sophomore Beatrice Biwott got out in the lead pack at the start and finished with a 36 second PR at 17:33 to finish sixth in the 5K race. The rest of the team found themselves buried at the start. At one mile, Biwott was fifth while the rest of the Gamecock pack were between 105th and 110th. As a team at that point, South Carolina was on pace to finish 10th, but the team then began working together to start passing as many runners as possible.
"We ran well without two of our leaders," Rosenthal said. "We had a couple of people that had 30-second PR's. I was very happy with Beatrice, particularly since it was in the afternoon where she has had problems running in the past. She ran with the leaders and had a really good race. She fought really hard and it was a very good result for her. If she keeps working hard and improving, I think she has a shot at All-SEC."
At two miles, the pack moved up to the 50's before the harriers settled into their final positions. At the finish, freshman Tatum Tyler was 26th with a PR of 18:41, followed by junior Laura Pramstaller in 35th at 18:52. The pack of freshman Sara Hartley and sophomores Chelsea Leroux and Nicole Rheinlander placed 41st, 42nd and 45th in PR's of 19:02, 19:02 and 19:04.
"Missing our two captains and two of our top three runners, the women could easily have thrown in the towel," Rosenthal said. "Then to get buried on top of that, I thought they might give up. Instead they really fought hard the entire race. I am sure we passed more runners the last two miles then any team racing. I am very proud of their efforts today."
South Carolina is now 24-3 against D1 teams this season. The team returns to action in two weeks when the team competes at the Princeton Invitational.