GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Predicted to finish 11th in the conference, the Mississippi State men's and women's cross country teams battled on Friday to finish above those slots.
The Bulldog squads were successful at defying their projected results as they captured ninth- and 10th-place finishes at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championships at the University of Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Course.
Led by senior John Valentine in the 8K (24:47.22) and junior Emma Neigel in the 6K (21:43.85), the Bulldogs totaled 229 points to finish ninth, while the MSU women tallied 191 to place 10th. Valentine and Neigel both entered the meet claiming the top times for the Maroon and White in their respective events this season.
“I felt like the men did not race as a group well, and that hurt us in the end,” MSU coach Houston Franks said. “We had some individuals, like John Valentine, who ran great, but we have to run as a unit better at the regional meet.”
Following Valentine in MSU’s Top 5 were Damian Roszko (40th, 25:09.86), Patrick Monaghan (52nd, 25:32.58), Juan Sanchez (58th, 25:39.71) and Cameron Vernier (62nd, 25:43.84). Only a freshman, Roszko clocked the team’s second-best time in just his second meet for the Bulldogs.
The MSU men placed ahead of conference foes, Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
“We didn’t stay together during the race, and we didn’t do as well as a team as a result of that,” Valentine said. “We are using this race to better prepare us for Regionals, where we are very confident we will run better as a team.”
The Lady Bulldogs executed strong pack running as a handful crossed the line in 31st, 32nd, 39th, 43rd, 49th and 50th. Sophomore standout Cornelia Griesche followed Neigel, clocking a time of 21:32.35 to finish 32nd. Lisa Ziegler (39th, 21:43.85), Katie Huston (43rd, 21:46.46) and Jodie McGuff (49th, 21:54.67) rounded out MSU’s Top 5 runners.
The women’s 10th-place finish landed them above rivals Auburn, Georgia, LSU and South Carolina.
“Although we were wanting to place better, I felt like our women battled well and were just a few points out of placing very well,” Franks said. “I expect a big finish at the regionals in two weeks.”
After returning home from Gainesville, the MSU squads will turn their focus to the NCAA South Regional Championships scheduled for Nov. 15 in Tuscaloosa.
Winner: Kemoy Campbell, Arkansas, 22:58.73
MSU: 24. John Valentine, 24:47.22; 40. Damian Roszko, 25:09.86; 52. Patrick Monaghan, 25:32.58; 58. Juan Sanchez, 25:39.71; 62. Cameron Vernier, 25:43.84; 81. Matt Weickert, 26:11.46; 93. Mathew Dunn, 26:33.56; 95. Carson Britton, 26:41.91; 98. Andrew Monaghan, 26:51.03; 107. Mike Clark, 27:44.65
Team Results: 1. Arkansas, 2. Florida, 3. Georgia, 4. Missouri, 5. Kentucky, 6. Auburn, 7. Tennessee, 8. Texas A&M, 9. Mississippi State, 10. Ole Miss, 11. Alabama, 12. LSU, 13. Vanderbilt
Winner: Dominique Scott, Arkansas, 20:02.81
MSU: 31. Emma Neigel, 21:32.22; 32. Cornelia Griesche, 21:32.35; 39. Lisa Ziegler, 21:43.85; 43. Katie Huston, 21:46.46; 49. Jodie McGuff, 21:54.67; 50. Rhianwedd Price, 21:55.91; 80. Carmen Brothers, 22:35.58; 96. Evie Savage, 23:21.21; 116. Madison Milhoan, 25:19.27
Team Results: 1. Arkansas, 2. Texas A&M, 3. Kentucky, 4. Florida, 5. Vanderbilt, 6. Alabama, 7. Missouri, 8. Tennessee, 9. Ole Miss, 10. Mississippi State, 11. Georgia, 12. South Carolina, 13. Auburn, 14. LSU