Sophomore Brandon Lord is one of 11 distance runners from Georgia who are traveling to Walnut, Calif., for the Mt. SAC Relays.
April 18, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- Eleven of Georgia’s distance runners travel to California on Wednesday to compete at the Mt. SAC Relays versus some of the nation’s top talent over the weekend.
The meet is scheduled to begin in Walnut, Calif., at 5:30 p.m. ET on Thursday and will run through Saturday night. Collegiate competition begins again at 1 p.m. on Friday and then around 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Junior Leslie Boozer, freshman Carly Hamilton, junior Kristie Krueger, sophomore Megan Malasarte and senior Morgan VanGorder will represent the Lady Bulldogs, who are ranked 14th in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll.
“This is the time of year when we are ready to compete at a high level,” said Bulldog distance coach Jeff Pigg. “It is when we are ready to be in some of the best races in the country. Traveling and running in fast races is what the (Southeastern Conference), Regional and NCAA meets are, so were are preparing for the Championship portion of the season.”
Five different times in the Bulldog all-time top-10 lists for distance events, including three on the men’s 10,000-meter list, were recorded at the Mt. SAC Relays over the past 12 years. Pigg is confident more times that qualify for the record books are coming this weekend.
“I think we will see people run marks that will put them in the Regional meets and in some cases, run personal-best times,” Pigg said. “This is the perfect time of the year to really rev them up. Then, they take their finals in the classroom and we head to the Championships.”
Georgia’s runners will be competing in a variety of distance and middle-distance events at the Mt. SAC meet. Evans, who captured the 2012 SEC indoor 800 title and is the school record holder indoors and outdoors, will be racing in his featured event after winning his season debut in the 800 last week in Athens. Evans is attempting to qualify for the Olympics for his native country of Bermuda.
Also in the 800, Grass will be racing after taking fourth at the Spec Towns Invitational behind Evans with a time of 1:52.54 and posting promising training times in the 400 this season.
Krueger will be competing in the first 5000 of her career as she attempts to return to the form that earned her NCAA indoor and cross country All-America honors in 2010.
Her middle-distance teammate, Megan Malasarte, has posted personal-best times in the 400, 800 and 1500 this season and is will be trying to top her career best in the 800 in Walnut.
Hamilton is the only freshman traveling and will be running in her second 1500 of her career after earning runner-up honors at last week’s home with a time of 4:29.10.
Boozer will be competing for the third time this season in the steeplechase after clocking the third-best time in school history (10:24.15) at the Florida Relays. She has the third-fastest time in the SEC this year.
Cleaver, who left Gainesville, Fla., with a 10-second win in the steeplechase with the second-fastest time of his career (8:49.38), will be lining up against some of the country’s top steeplers as he continues his pursuit of the NCAA finals in 2012.
“The distance crew ran at Florida in the midst of some very tough training,” said Pigg. “We are just beginning to be at the point where they should reap the benefits of their hard work.”
VanGorder and Richardson will be gunning for improvements in the 10,000 while Lord and Detweiler will be lining up in the 5000, an event that each has a top-10 time in school history indoors.
Another group of Bulldogs are also expected to make the trip to Auburn, Ala., for the War Eagle Invitational.
Live results and recaps for both meets will be located at georgiadogs.com.