Nov. 9, 2017
Cross Country at the NCAA Southeast Regional
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The University of South Carolina cross country team continues its postseason run Friday, when it heads north for the NCAA Southeast Regional, hosted by Virginia. The 6K race begins at 10:30 a.m. at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville, Va.
The top teams in the Southeast Region will be in Charlottesville looking for bids to the NCAA Championships. The top two team finishers will advance to the Louisville, Ky., for the national finals, to be held Nov. 18. The top four individuals not on an advancing team will also move on to Louisville, where they will be joined by 13 at-large teams and two at-large individuals.
South Carolina has spent time in the USTFCCCA Southeast Region rankings this season, checking in at No. 15 in the Oct. 16 edition of the poll. Currently, the top three spots in the region are held by ACC champion NC State, SoCon champion Furman and OVC champion Eastern Kentucky. Louisville, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Duke, Virginia, Kentucky and Charlotte round out the top 10.
"We're excited to compete against the best teams in the region at the NCAA Southeast Regional and eager to prove ourselves in the postseason. We have improved each time out this season, something we want to do again on Friday. Our team was proud to earn a spot in the regional rankings a couple of weeks back, and we'd like to validate that ranking with a top-15 showing this week." -- Cross Country Coach Andrew Allden
CAROLINA'S NCAA REGIONAL HISTORY
The Gamecocks will compete in an NCAA Regional for the 30th time on Friday. The team's best overall finish came in 1991, a seventh-place result in Greenville, S.C., while three years later the Gamecocks came in ninth.
Carolina's third and most recent top-10 finish came in 2012, as the Gamecocks placed 10th in Charlotte, N.C. Kayla Lampe came home in eighth individually, just missing a spot at the NCAA Championships but earning USTFCCCA All-Region honors.
Four Gamecocks have placed in the top-10 individually at an NCAA Regional event. Danielle Adams came in fifth at the 1992 race, while Sue McGhie matched the feat one season later. Liz Figler took 10th in 1994, while Lampe broke an 18-year top-10 drought for the Gamecocks with her eighth-place result in 2012.
This will be Carolina's fourth trip to Panorama Farms for the regional meet. The Gamecocks finished 14th in 2013, 26th in 2015 and 24th last year.
LAST SEASON AT THE NCAA SOUTHEAST REGIONAL
South Carolina finished 24th last season at the NCAA Southeast Regional, capping a 2016 campaign that included three team victories. In her final cross country race, graduated senior Mary Reiser led the Gamecocks with a 74th-place finish.
Five current Gamecocks were in the field last season at the NCAA Regional. Anna Kathryn Stoddard placed 103rd with a time of 22:27.1, and Allison Mueller checked in 123rd with a mark of 22:42.8. Kaylee Wessel ran 160th with a time of 23:24.8, Emily Crounse took 172nd in a time of 23:35.4, and Allie Sprague placed 194th, posting a time of 24:15.0.
LAST TIME OUT -- OCT. 27 -- SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS
South Carolina finished 12th at the 2017 SEC Championships, held Oct. 17 in Athens, Ga. Sophomore Anna Kathryn Stoddard was Carolina's top performer, helping the Gamecocks secure their best team finish at the conference championship since 2013.
Stoddard finished with a 6K personal best of 21:56.1 to place 50th individually at the meet, her best-ever result at the SEC Championships. Allison Mueller's time of 22:01.1 was good for 54th, while Kaylee Wessel came home in 22:13.9 to take 61st. Heather Stone, Colleen Openshaw, Rachel Hensler and Sarah-Sims McGrath rounded out the Gamecock scoring effort.
Stoddard's time of 21:56.1 was the 11th-fastest SEC Championships time in Carolina history. She and Mueller each ran their fastest collegiate 6K times at the meet.
GAMECOCKS RANKED IN USTFCCCA REGIONAL POLL
Buoyed by their strong showing at the Crimson Classic and team regular-season victories at the Koala Classic and Carolina Challenge, the Gamecocks rose to No. 15 in the fifth edition of the USTFCCCA Southeast Region rankings, released Oct. 16. It's the first regional listing of the season for the Gamecocks and overall, the first time they've cracked the top-15 since the third week of the 2015 season.
OCT. 13 -- CRIMSON CLASSIC
Carolina's last regular-season meet was Oct. 13, when the Gamecocks finished 12th out of 31 quality opponents at the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Sophomore Anna Kathryn Stoddard paced the club, finishing 58th with a time of 21:58.2. That run is the 28th sub-22 minute 6K mark in Carolina history.
Stoddard was one of nine Gamecocks to run a 6K collegiate PR in Alabama. Kaylee Wessel placed 68th with a personal-best time of 22:05.5, and Heather Stone took 69th with an effort of 22:06.0. Allison Mueller, Colleen Openshaw, Sarah-Sims McGrath and Megan Buechler rounded out Carolina's top-seven at the event.
OCT. 7 -- KOALA CLASSIC CHAMPIONS
South Carolina earned its second team victory of the 2017 season when itcaptured 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.
SEPT. 29 -- JOE PIANE INVITATIONAL
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 it 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.
SEPT. 9 -- BULLDOG SEC PREVIEW
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.
SEPT. 2 -- CAROLINA CHALLENGE CHAMPIONS
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.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
Should they advance individually or as a team, the Gamecocks will run for the national title on Saturday, Nov. 18, at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky.
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