Aug. 30, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina cross country team will open its 2012 season on Friday as it hosts the Gamecock Invitational at Hilton Field in Fort Jackson.
The men's 5K race is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., with the women's race to follow at 7. A total of eight teams from around the region will compete against the Gamecocks, including Benedict, College of Charleston, Georgia Southern, Paine, Presbyterian, South Carolina State, UNC-Pembroke and USC-Beaufort.
"It will be a good opener for us," South Carolina head coach Stan Rosenthal said. "We get to run everybody, so we will have a really large group of women racing. Hopefully, many of them will run PRs because our course is fairly fast even though it has three hills. It will be a good test to see where we are and show how much hard work we've done this summer and so far this season."
The Gamecocks enter Friday looking to continue their recent success at the Gamecock Invitational as they won the race last season and have claimed first place three out of the last four years. Junior Penny Boswell led the way last season with a second-place showing, as Carolina placed nine runners in the top 15.
Joining Boswell as the Gamecocks' top returners in 2012 are sophomore Meredith Mill and freshman Kayla Lampe. Mill, whose 2011 season was cut short due to an illness, improved her mile PR from 5:17 to 4:54 during the 2012 indoor track season. She ran a 4:35 during the outdoor season before suffering a season-ending foot injury. Lampe did not run cross country last season but had a breakout performance during outdoor track as she scored at the SEC Championships with a 5K PR of 16:55.
Transfer Chelsea France is expected to join Boswell, Mill and Lampe to make up Carolina's top four. France, who transferred from Virginia, ran a 16:23 in the 5K on the track.
Determining who will become the fifth scorer will be the key question for Rosenthal in 2012. Junior Liz Locke, sophomore Maggie Henderson and junior Kelly Newcomb could be key contributors. Locke looks to have a strong junior campaign as she enters the year with PRs of 18:20 in the 5K, 4:56 in the 1,600-meter run and 2:12 in the 800-meter run.
Rosenthal will also count on a freshman class of 16 runners, which is the largest recruited class in Gamecock history. Several newcomers had PRs during their senior year of track. Lisa Zimmer ran a 5:01 for the 1,600 and a 2:14 in the 800. Kaleigh Higgins ran a 2:12 in 800 and has a PR of 4:46 in the 1,500-meter run. Christine Kent ran an 11:17 in the 3,200-meter run. Lauren Kahre posted an 11:21 in her first and only 3,200 before her coach moved her to the 800 due to the fact Carmel had three of the top 3,200 runners in the country.
Two newcomers from South Carolina will also be in the mix. Anna Todd, a native of Spartanburg, S.C., ran 5:08 and 2:15 during the 2012 track season. Lydia Davis, a transfer from Anderson University, ran a 4:46 in the 1,500. Two freshmen from Virginia, Shaina Manuel (Stafford, Va.) and Brandy Wybersky, (Manassas, Va.), have PRs in the 3,200 of 11:18 and 11:29, respectively, and will join them in the race for the varsity places.
Admission to Friday's Gamecock Invitational is free, and all fans entering Fort Jackson must show a photo ID, proof of car insurance and vehicle registration.
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