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Cross Country

Gamecocks Finish Regular Season at Crimson Classic
Oct. 12, 2017

Cross Country at the Crimson Classic

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The University of South Carolina wraps up the 2017 cross country regular season and makes its final preparations for the postseason when it competes at the Crimson Classic, to be held Friday morning in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The University of Alabama serves as host, with the women’s race beginning at 10:45 a.m. CT at Harry Pritchett Running Park in Tuscaloosa.

The Gamecocks will face several Southeastern Conference rivals in their final appearance before the league championship. In addition to the hosts from Alabama, Carolina will compete against Auburn, LSU, No. 12 Ole Miss, No. 29 Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt on Friday.


"We’ve had two good weeks of training, so I am very excited to see how we race at the 6K distance after the last two meets were at 5K. I’m looking forward to getting Anna Kathryn Stoddard back in the lineup and seeing what she can contribute, and Allison Mueller is also one to watch at 6K after she ran so well at the Notre Dame meet. Overall, I’m looking for good times and a top-10 finish as we finish our preparations for the SEC Championships.” – Andrew Allden


The Gamecocks placed 13th out of 26 teams last season at the Crimson Classic, including a fifth-place showing among the SEC teams in the field. Among returning Gamecocks, Allison Mueller paced Carolina with a 72nd-place finish, running a time of 22:11.9. Kaylee Wessel and Emily Crounse also scored in the Carolina's top-six last year in Tuscaloosa, with Wessel placing 129th (23:02.7) and Crounse taking 132nd (23:04.3).


South Carolina earned its second team victory of the 2017 season when they captured the Koala Classic, hosted by Columbia College, on Saturday, Oct. 7. The top six finishers and 10 of the top 11 runners at the meet were Gamecocks.

Senior Kaylee Wessel paced the Gamecocks, earning her first career individual victory. Wessel crossed the line in 19:35.3, almost a full minute ahead of the remaining 72 competitors.

Morgan Lee finished second, with a time of 20:30.0, while Rachel Hensler completed the podium with a mark of 20:41.6. Sarah Riser’s time of 20:47.4 was good for fourth place, and Kelsey Larkin, in her first career 5K race, rounded out the top-five in 20:49.1.


The Gamecocks finished 13th in the Gold Division at the Joe Piane Invitational, hosted Sept. 29 by Notre Dame. Carolina improved its finish at the meet by two positions over last season, when they came in 15th.

Junior Allison Mueller paced the Gamecocks at Notre Dame with the best performance of her career. Mueller’s time of 17:56.0 was good for 23rd individually in the Gold Division and the seventh-fastest 5K time in Carolina history. Mueller beat her previous PR by more than 38 seconds.

Mueller was one of six Gamecocks to set a collegiate best at Notre Dame. Heather Stone ran 18:26.1 to finish 59th, while Colleen Openshaw took 70th in 18:37.0. Sarah-Sims McGrath (18:45.2), Morgan Lee (19:13.4) and Sarah Riser (19:38.3) also ran their best 5K races as Gamecocks at the meet.


South Carolina finished fourth at the Bulldog SEC Preview, hosted Sept. 9 by the University of Georgia. Sophomore Anna Kathryn Stoddard led the Gamecocks with a 6K time of 22:44.9, good for 16th overall at the meet. Allison Mueller (23:11.7), Kaylee Wessel (23.14.5), Heather Stone (23:17.6) and Brooke Wilson (23.18.8) rounded out Carolina’s top five performers.

Five Gamecocks made their 6K debuts at the meet: Stone, Wilson, Rachel Hensler, Sarah Riser and Kylee Yturralde. Each ran a personal best, as did sophomore Sarah-Sims McGrath, the sixth-highest Gamecock finisher in 23:45.5.

South Carolina will return to Athens Oct. 27 for the 2017 SEC Championships.


The Gamecocks defended their team championship at the Carolina Challenge on Sept. 2, opening the season by dominating the seven-team field. Anna Kathryn Stoddard posted a 5K time of 18:32.1 to lead Carolina and place third overall, while Kaylee Wessel, Brooke Wilson, Allison Mueller and Heather Stone also finished in the top-10.

Wessel ran a 5K personal best of 18:36.2, one of 11 collegiate PRs achieved by the Gamecocks at the meet. Veterans Colleen Openshaw (19:08.6), Sarah-Sims McGrath (19:13.5), Morgan Lee (19:39.6), Megan Buechler (19:54.2) and Julia Nardone (20:10.7) also ran their collegiate bests at the Sandhills REC.


South Carolina begins the postseason on Friday, Oct. 27 when it takes part in the 2017 SEC Championships. The University of Georgia serves as host, and the meet will be held at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga.

The Gamecocks have already seen the SEC Championships course; they finished fourth out of seven teams at the Bulldog SEC Preview on Sept. 9.




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