Photo Gallery for 2011 Gamecock Invitational Now Available
A photo gallery for the 2011 Gamecock Invitational is now available by clicking here.
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina cross country team opens the 2011 season on Friday as it hosts the Gamecock Invitational at Hilton Field in Fort Jackson.
The 5K race is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. A men's race will follow at 7. The Gamecocks will be competing against 10 teams from across the region, including Benedict College, Charleston Southern, The Citadel, Coastal Carolina, Fort Valley State, Francis Marion, Georgia Southern, USC Aiken, South Carolina State and USC Beaufort.
Admission to the meet is free, and all fans entering Fort Jackson must show a photo ID, proof of car insurance and vehicle registration.
The 2011 cross country season holds much promise for the Gamecocks. The top five returners all ran PRs during the 2011 track season. No. 1 runner, Senior Beatrice Biwott, ran 9:39 indoors, 17:13 for the 5K outdoors and once again was an NCAA qualifier in the 3K steeplechase, where she placed fourth in the SEC and missed qualifying for the NCAA Finals by four seconds.
Sophomore Penny Boswell, dropped her 5K PR from 19:20 to 17:49. Senior Nicole Rheinlander improved from 18:32 to 17:57. Sophomore Liz Locke improved her 5K PR from 19:10 to 18:20, and sophomore Scola Jepngetich dropped to 18:18 and a track PR of 2:10 in the 800.
The race to make the final varsity Southeastern Conference squad will have many competitors, giving the team much depth. Sophomore Sierra Henderson, a 2:10 runner on the track, was in the top seven in 2010 and has run 18:41 for a 5K race. Senior Erin Fedewa has had a good summer of training and was a top seven runner her first two years on the team. Junior Jessie Hartman had big PRs on the track in the 5K and 1500 during the 2010 season. Hartman has trained very well this summer and should be able to drop her 5K times into the low 18s.
Junior Laura Beggs returns from an illness that knocked her out of cross country last season. As a freshman, Beggs was in the team's top seven. She is healthy and is expected to once again be one of the team's top runners and run in the 18s in the 5K. Sophomore Rachel Grochowski is also returning from an abbreviated cross country season. Grochowski has PRs in the low 11s and mid 18s from high school and will be a good addition to the team's depth.
The 2011 signing class is made up of 11 student-athletes. Leading the class are several runners who will fight for top 10 spots and the chance to race at the SEC Cross Country Championships.
Kayla Lampe from Downingtown, Pa., has the fastest high school PRs, running 11:18 and 18:28. Lampe was a top finisher in the state meet, with a high placing of 12th in the large school class in Pennsylvania. Bryttin Boyd from Magnolia, Texas, improved her two-mile PR 45 seconds in 2011 to 11:36. She has also raced in the 18s in 5K road races. Transfer sophomore Kelly Newcomb ran 18:55 during the indoor track season and freshmen Alex Mullin from Chattanooga, Tenn., Jessica Muse from Roswell, Ga. and Carolyn Batke from Chagrin Falls, Ohio have all run in the low 19s.
The 2011 meet schedule is a mix of local and national meets. Following Friday's Gamecock Invitational, the Gamecocks will compete in the Winthrop Invitational. The team will then travel to Minnesota for the prestigious Griak Invitational. The Griak meet will showcase a dozen nationally ranked teams and another dozen regionally ranked teams, making it one of the strongest fields in the country. Following the Griak Invitational is the Charlotte Invitational on the Foot Locker South course. The B team will then race at the Furman Invitational before the varsity travels to Indiana for the NCAA Preview race at Indiana State, host of the NCAA Championships. This race will also have a field of nationally and regionally ranked teams, helping the Gamecocks prepare for the grueling SEC Championships, which follows.
Tennessee will host the SEC Championships on Monday, Oct. 31, followed by the NCAA Southeast Region Championship race in Louisville, Ky. The NCAA finals are November 21 in Terre Haute, Ind.