Aug 28, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina's cross country team begins its 2013 season this Friday by hosting the Carolina Challenge, the first of three scheduled home meets this year. Both races are scheduled for 5,000 meters, with the women beginning at 6 p.m. and the men starting at 6:45 p.m. at Hilton Field on Fort Jackson (full instructions and directions follow).
The Gamecocks enter the season with a new coach, as assistant track coach in charge of distance and cross country Andrew Allden reunites with head track coach Curtis Frye and returns after 12 years away from Columbia. Allden is bringing his 27 years of coaching experience to the Gamecocks this year in regards to training that he hopes pays off for the team.
South Carolina has spent most of its practice time running on softer surfaces to prepare for the schedule, including running at Sesquicentennial State Park in the northeast section of Columbia, the Three Rivers Greenway near downtown as well as Owens Field Park just two miles from campus. Strength training has more emphasis as part of the Gamecocks' training program, as Allden wants the team to improve its core specifically.
The team, which returns four of the five scorers from last year's ninth-place SEC Championships squad, has a lot of quality depth. The team, which finished 10th in the NCAA Southeast Regional last fall, starts the season ninth in the first regional rankings from the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association released this week.
Leading the way for the returners is redshirt sophomore Kayla Lampe, who will miss the first part of the season as she works back from an injury suffered during the NCAA Outdoor Championships 10,000-meter run. Lampe led the Gamecocks in cross country with an eighth-place finish in the NCAA Southeast Regional, just missing a national-meet bid, while also earning second-team All-SEC accolades. Other SEC scorers returning include sophomore Mary Fouse, senior Penny Boswell and junior Meredith Mill. Additional returners are sophomores Christine Kent and Lisa Zimmer, junior Alex Mullin and sophomores Anna Todd and Lannon McCoy.
Joining Lampe and the rest of the returners are nine freshmen who will vie for spots in the racing lineup in the coming weeks. Brittany Day, Sarah Falta, Meri Heneage, Jill Lampe, Martha McCoy, Melanie Ng, Mary Reiser, Haley Saxby and Allison Sherman all compete with the 18 returning student-athletes, who all have at least one SEC Academic Honor Roll mention among them.
Competing against the Gamecocks this Friday will be Charleston Southern, Charlotte, The Citadel, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Georgia Southern, Presbyterian, South Carolina State and NAIA teams Savannah College of Art & Designe and USC Beaufort. The men's field consists of Charlotte, The Citadel, Coastal, College of Charleston, Davidson, Presbyterian, South Carolina State, SCAD and USC Beaufort.
The mostly flat Hilton Field course is located on Fort Jackson.
SPECTATOR DIRECTIONS: Fans wanting to come to the free event must have a government-issued photo I.D. for all attending plus proof of car insurance and vehicle registration for the driver to get on the base. The best entrance for fans to enter is the main gate, Gate 2, which enters Fort Jackson from Forest Drive (Exit 12 on Interstate 77). After passing through security in the far-right lane, go one mile on Strom Thurmond Drive before taking a left at the light onto Lee Drive. When the road dead ends, turn right onto Hampton Parkway. The cross country course will be a half mile ahead on the right.
TEAM BUS DIRECTIONS: Team buses will enter from Percival Road entrance at Gate 4, which enters at Boyden Arbor Road. To get to the course, go straight for one mile after clearing the guards. At the dead end turn right onto Dixie Road. You will pass an empty guard area in the middle of the road. Turn left at the first paved road after the empty guard area, Golden Arrow Road. Golden Arrow is almost 2 miles long. Turn right onto Hartsville Guard Road. The course will be in 400 meters on your left.
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