COACH ROSENTHAL PREVIEWS THE NCAA SOUTHEAST REGIONAL November 8, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina cross country team is set to race in the 2012 NCAA Southeast Regional Championships on Friday at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, N.C.
The 6,000-meter race is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m., with the men's 10,000-meter race to follow at 1:15 p.m.
The Gamecocks are coming off a ninth-place finish at the SEC Championships, the program's highest at the event since finishing ninth in 2009. Freshman Kayla Lampe led the way with a 13th-place finish with a personal record of 21:02.30 as she earned second team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman Team honors. Senior Chelsea France placed just inside the top 25, finishing 23rd with a PR or 21.23.67.
"What was great about the SEC Championships was the fact that they got buried and just didn't give up and kept fighting," South Carolina head coach Stan Rosenthal said. "We are going to need the same kind of effort this Friday at the Southeast Regional because it's going to be a similar race."
WHO'S HEADING TO CHARLOTTE The Gamecocks will have seven runners line up at the starting line on Friday. Lampe and France are expected to lead the way and will be joined by junior Penny Boswell, sophomore Meredith Mill and freshmen Mary Fouse, Christine Kent and Anna Todd. All seven raced at the SEC Championships.
BREAKING DOWN THE FIELD Including the Gamecocks, Friday's field is set at 41 teams from across the Southeast Region, which is made up of Division I programs from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky. Three teams in the region are nationally ranked, as Duke is No. 10, William and Mary is No. 19 and North Carolina State is No. 30. Virginia, the sixth-ranked team in the region, has won three of the last four Southeast Regionals. Kentucky, the only other SEC school in the region, is ranked fourth in the Southeast, while South Carolina enters the meet ranked ninth in the region. The top two teams and top four individuals not on those teams receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Additional teams and individuals will be chosen through a selection process.
RECAPPING THE 2011 NCAA SOUTHEAST REGIONAL South Carolina claimed 24th at last year's NCAA Southeast Regional, which was held at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. Then-senior Beatrice Biwott was the Gamecocks' top finisher as she placed 36th with a PR of 21:19.5. It was the best finish by a Gamecock at the meet since Jenny Lake finished 34th at the 2004 regional.
GAMECOCKS AT THE NCAA SOUTHEAST REGIONAL In the last 10 Southeast Regionals, the Gamecocks' top finish was a 14th-place showing in 2009 in Louisville, Ky. During that span, South Carolina's top individual finish was a 17th-place finish by Jenny Lake at the 2003 Southeast Regional. The Gamecocks' best finish all-time at the event was a seventh-place finish at the 1991 meet, which was called the NCAA District III Championship. Individually, Danielle Adams (1992) and Sue McGhie (1993) each have a fifth-place finish at the event, which is the highest all-time at South Carolina.
PREVIEWING THE COURSE Rosenthal had the chance to watch his team race at McAlpine Park earlier this season at the Charlotte Invitational/NCAA Southeast Regional Preview. The Gamecocks finished 11th at the event. Here is what Rosenthal says about the course:
"The course is essentially as flat as a pancake. There is one hill that is around 700 meters from the end. The girls all like the course because it's through the woods and around the lake. It's a little narrow once you get into the woods and a little twisty, so getting out early is definitely going to be important."
LAMPE BEING LAMPE Freshman Kayla Lampe has led South Carolina in every meet this season. She won both the Gamecock Invitational and the unseeded race at the NCAA Pre-Nationals and finished second and third in the Gamecocks' other two meets during the regular season. A native of Downingtown, Pa., Lampe placed 13th at the SEC Championships, which is the highest finish by a freshman at the event in school history. She will look to become the highest freshman finisher in school history at the Southeast Regional on Friday. Lisa Monti holds the record with a 35th-place finish in 1993.
ON THE RISE Freshman Mary Fouse turned in a stellar performance for the Gamecocks at the SEC Championships. Fouse was the third Gamecock to cross the finish line, placing 64th with a PR of 22:04.86. She just missed earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team as she was the eighth freshman to cross the finish line.
FAN INFO Admission to Friday's NCAA Southeast Regional is free. For more information, visit the NCAA Southeast Regional home page by clicking here.