Oct. 31, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fl. - Four months. That is how long the Mizzou men's and women's cross country teams have been training for November. And with the first of the month comes the first of the championship meets - the SEC Championships, hosted by the Univ. of Floriday in Gainesville. The teams will hit the line tomorrow at the Mark Bostick Golf Course beginning at 9:00 a.m. EST with the men's 8k, followed by the women's 6k at 10:00 a.m. EST.
This is the second year for the Tigers at the SEC Championships. Last year the men finished third and the women 13th, and both teams are looking to continue climbing the conference ladder this year. The women are feeling some momentum coming into the weekend after their win at the Bradley Pink Classic two weeks ago. The team's performance there launched them into the No. 4 spot in the Midwest Regional Rankings, the highest ever for the women since 2009. The men are currently No. 7 in the region.
The men will tap into their mix of youth and experience as they take on the tight team competition which includes current No. 2 Arkansas. Three Tigers have rotated through the top spot for the squad throughout the season, beginning with sophomore Evan Chiplock who took the lead at the season opener against Arkansas. Sophomore Tyler Schneider took the reins from there, leading the charge at the Roy Griak Invitational befoer freshman T.J. Carey stepped up at the Notre Dame Invitational, his second meet in the black and gold. Carey was the third Tiger to earn SEC Freshman of the Week - Kaitlyn Fischer and Dan Roe earned the honor eaerlier in the season - after his third consecutive top five finish for the Tigers at the Adidas Wisconsin Invitational. Schneider was back in the lead at the Adidas Invite, which closed out the regular season for the Tigers.
Joining them on the course is returning All-SEC Second Team finisher Hayden Legg, who placed eighth at the Championship last year. Junior Sam Dickerson and sophomore Kenny Cushing round out the returners on the ten-man squad that will take to the course on Friday.
There is also a group of redshirt freshmen who will make the trip down south. SEC Freshman of the Week Dan Roe is among those, as well as Jordan Cook, Ian McGinn, and Drew White.
The women's squad in Gainesville boasts both youth and experience, as the squad is split with four returners and six newcomers to the SEC Championships. On the one hand, juniors Liz Reida, Courtney Brown, and Courtney Wood will hit the course for their second SEC Championship and third career Conference Championship. Reida has helped lead the squad throughout the season, including as the first Tiger across the line at the Notre Dame Invitational. Sophomore Sam Garrett also brings a degree of experience to the table, after making the SEC squad last year as a freshman.
Then there are the freshmen, who make up the remainder of the ten-women team. Included among this group is Kaitlyn Fischer, who led the charge for the Tigers in three of her four meets this season and earned an SEC Freshman of the Week for her efforts. She is joined by Kaelyn Balch who has finished wthin the top six fo the team throughout the season. Megan Cunningham, Nicole Mello, Kayla Wolf, and Libby Luciani have also come through with strong performances at the end of regular season competition to earn their spots to Gainesville.
Races will kick off with the men's 8k at 9:00 a.m. EST at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, followed by the women's 6k at 10:00 a.m. EST. For the latest on your Tigers, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.