2005 Season Review

Bulldog Cross Country Reaching New Heights

The University of Georgia cross country program has proven itself to be one of the nation's most competitive programs, both athletically and academically, in recent years. Jeff Pigg, who joined the program in 2008 as the Bulldogs’ distance coach, saw Natalie Picchetti earn her fourth straight All-Southeastern Conference honor while Kiah Vernon grabbed her fourth consecutive All-Region accolade during just his first fall in red and black.

The Georgia women, who claimed the SEC Freshman of the Year award from 2002 to 2004, won their first NCAA South Regional title in 2006 after routing Florida 35-70.  Picchetti also registered the team’s first All-American honor in 2007 since 1990.  In addition, Sarah Madebach, a two-time SEC 3000-meter steeplechase champion on the track, won the SEC individual crown and was named the SEC Female Cross Country Athlete of the Year during the 2007 season to lead the Lady Bulldogs to a third-place finish at the conference meet.  The Georgia women left Terre Haute, Ind., in 2006 with their top national finish after taking 15th at the NCAA meet.

The Bulldog men had their last All-American in 2004 when Simon Ngata finished sixth overall at the NCAA Championships.  In the last five seasons, Georgia has had seven All-Region competitors and four All-SEC runners on the men’s side.  The Lady Bulldogs have recorded 17 All-Region performers and 11 All-SEC performers in that span.  In 2006, a record-breaking seven Georgia competitors were named to the men's and women's All-Region teams.

Academically, the women’s team was named a USTFCCCA All-Academic team in 2005, 2006 and 2007 while the Bulldog men garnered team honors in 2006 and 2007.  Picchetti, who finished her athletic career as a three-time All-American in Athens, was also named the 2007 SEC co-Scholar Athlete of the Year.

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