STARKVILLE, Miss. – With post-season action slated to begin on Friday, the Mississippi State cross country teams are set to travel to Gainesville, Fla., for the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championships.
The Bulldogs bring 20 athletes to the field, including senior veterans Katie Huston, Juan Sanchez and John Valentine, along with talented newcomers Cornelia Griesche and Damian Roszko. Valentine has led the way for coach Houston Franks’ men in every meet this season as the top Bulldog runner, holding the team’s top 8K time of 24:47.93 (Crimson Classic). Junior Emma Neigel claims MSU’s best 6K time, clocking a 21:24.00 at the Charlotte Invitational on Sept. 28.
“The past couple of weeks have gone really well,” Franks said. “Both teams come into the meet very healthy. All in all, we are in a good position, and training has gone very well.”
Last year the teams left SECs with eighth and 10th-place finishes, which serves as motivation to execute their goals at this year's championships. Both teams have knocked out numerous conference rivals at competitions this season, proving they are capable of success in Florida.
The MSU men have defeated Ole Miss and Vanderbilt twice in the 2013 campaign, along with SEC foes Alabama and LSU. On the women’s side, the Lady Bulldogs have finished ahead of Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt during this regular season.
“The goal every week is to get better than you were the week before,” Franks said. “Obviously, when you go into a championship meet, you want to place as high as you can. From a single-season perspective, we want to run faster times.”
Action will kick off at the University of Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Course at 9 a.m. with the men’s 8K race, followed by the women’s 6K at 10 a.m.