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ATHENS, Ga. --- After opening the season with a pair of wins on their new home course, the Georgia men and women battled for fourth-place finishes at the NCAA South Regionals to cap a season full of promising highlights. The two fourth-place finishes, which marked the best combined finish for the program at Regionals since 2006, saw Georgia have five All-Region performers (four more than in 2008). Sophomore Kristie Krueger led the way finishing eighth overall (20:32.88) in the 6k competition as senior teammate and co-captain Bridget Lyons had a career-best finish of 12th (20:46.27). Junior Kylie Foley also snuck in with a 24th-place finish (21:06.83) after being the Lady Bulldogs’ third finisher at the Southeastern Conference Championships two weeks earlier. Krueger’s top-10 finish at Regionals punched her ticket to her first NCAA meet. Krueger, a 1500-meter standout on the track as a freshman, traveled to Terre Haute, Ind., for the second time of 2009 and finished 164th (21:47.2). She was the first Georgia runner to advance to the meet since Natalie Picchetti brought home All-American honors in 2007.

The men bounced back from a 12th-place finish in 2008 to top rival Florida and rejoin the region’s elite squads in ‘09. Just as he had in the first five meets of the year, senior captain Bejan Abtahi led the Bulldogs and earned All-Region honors after taking 15th overall (30:44.55) in the 10k. Fellow senior captain Dustin Tetley, who ran his way back onto the team after struggling to make a traveling squad early in his career, finished 22nd at his final region meet to also be named to the All-Region squad. A freshmen duo for the Georgia men - Bill Matthews and Brett Richardson - also showed their potential by earning All-Region honors. Matthews, who scored in all six meets during his first season in red and black, was 34th overall at the Regionals as Richardson, who arrived at UGA via Georgia State, was the team’s fourth finisher, taking 30th.

Georgia’s teams started their 2009 campaign by sweeping both the dual meet with Georgia Tech and the Georgia Cross Country Invitational. The Bulldogs and Georgia women were led by Krueger and Abtahi after both won each of their respective races. While opening the season in the Athens area was a boost, the student-athletes and Coach Jeff Pigg were even more thrilled about breaking in their new course in Bishop, Ga. Their new rolling plot of land weaves through the woods as well as grass trails on UGA’s new equestrian complex and Pigg is hoping this will be his teams’ home for many years to come.

After starting the season at home, Georgia quickly squared off versus some of the nation’s top talent at the Notre Dame Invitational. Krueger’s 35th-place individual finish helped the Lady Bulldogs finished 15th while the Georgia men battled for 14th. Both Abtahi and sophomore Matt Cleaver broke into the field’s top 60. Georgia followed up a rough trip to Terre Haute for the NCAA Pre-Nationals, where the Lady Bulldogs were 19th and the Bulldogs 24th, with a journey to Oxford, Miss., for the SEC Championships. Krueger showed more fl ashes of her dominating style by staying with the lead pack throughout the race and finishing fourth with a time of 21:17.80. Thanks to Lyons finishing not far behind with a career-best 11th-place finish, the Lady Bulldogs equaled their 2008 finish to take fourth.

The Georgia men had their best finish since 2006, taking fifth. With the finish for the Bulldog men, the program also boasted their best combined finish since ‘06. Abtahi sped to a 21st-place finish, which was his best finish at an SEC meet, to lead Georgia. Tetley (25th), Matthews (27th) and Cleaver (28th) all broke into the top 30 to push the Bulldogs up in the standings.

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