The Daily Gamecock

Cross country team set for SEC Championships

Although most college students will celebrate Halloween this weekend, the Gamecock women’s cross-country team will travel down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to take part in the SEC Championships.  

South Carolina has been very successful during the regular season, claiming four first place finishes out of the six events they have participated in, which included the team receiving 576 points for its 19th place finish at the Lehigh Cross Country Course, at the Paul Short Invitational.

Assistant head coach Andrew Allden has been very pleased with the team this season, especially with all the young talent that has stepped up for the Gamecocks.

“We’ve had a very solid season so far; we have a very young team that features 15 freshmen, and no seniors (who have been eligible to run),” he said. “The team has won a number of meets, and have been competitive all season. I’m very pleased with how we have performed thus far.”

Although the Gamecocks are not primarily known for cross country, the team has improved upon last year, and hopes to not only win at the SEC Championships, but to possibly qualify for the NCAA Championships down the road.

“We finished 12th in the SEC last year, and this year we’ve been looking to crack the top 10 in the conference,” Allden said. “The SEC is one of, if not, the toughest conference in our sport, and we’re happy with the improvements we’ve made since last season. We’re hoping to qualify for the NCAA championships by doing well enough at the NCAA Regionals later this season.”

The Gamecocks are going to have to deal with some tough competition this weekend, as two SEC teams, Arkansas and Vanderbilt, have received top-25 recognition this season. Arkansas is looking to capture its 14th SEC title.

Earlier this month, South Carolina freshman Monica York received the honor as one of the SEC Runners of the Week for the week of October 14, for her stellar first place performance at the USC Open #2. She defeated 41 other runners, and her time of 11:53:95 ranked among the top-20 women’s two-mile times in the SEC this season. The Gamecocks are going to rely on her this weekend to keep producing among the team’s best times.

Other Gamecocks who have had strong showings this season include junior Anna Todd, junior Stephanie Berger, sophomore Ashley Miller, freshman Regina Schreiber, as well as freshmen Sarah Taylor and Helena Harding.

Unlike the usual 5K races that South Carolina runs in the majority of their meets, the SEC Championship will be a 6K race.  

The last meet the Gamecocks had was actually at the Harry Pritchett Running Course where the SEC Championship is being held. At that meet, the team finished eighth out of a 33-team field with 246 points. Friday’s meet is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.  

With a team full of young talent, the Gamecocks might not be ready just yet to compete for the SEC Championship or an NCAA Championship due to their lack of experience, but Allden is happy with the direction the team is headed in, and sees a bright future ahead.

“Our goal is to be competitive in the SEC and NCAA for years to come with our young team,” he said. “We’ll have a lot of talent returning these next few years, and I’m excited to see what the future holds in store for us.”