Sept. 17, 2011
HAMPTON, Ga. --- The Bulldog cross country teams swept the Georgia State Invitational at the Nash Farm Battlefield in Hampton, Ga., on a cool Saturday morning.
The Georgia men topped Kennesaw State 27-62 with UNC-Wilmington (91), Georgia State (101), Tennessee Tech (159), Austin Peay (174), Clayton State (188), West Georgia (217), Troy (224) and Morehouse (275) also finishing behind the Bulldogs.
On the women's side, the Lady Bulldogs scored 28 points to edge Georgia State (33) as UNC-Wilmington (93), Kennesaw State (135), Tennessee Tech (160), Austin Peay (162), Troy (171), West Georgia (202) and Clayton State (247) trailed Georgia.
Individually, sophomore Luke Baker (25:41) finished two seconds behind Kennesaw State's Nabil Hamid (25:39) for the men's title in the 8k race. Lady Bulldog freshman Carly Hamilton (22:37) was the runner-up in the women's 6k as Georgia State's Hannah Srefanoff picked up a victory with a time of 22:23.
"I think this meet helped solidify who a handful of our top people are," said Bulldog distance coach Jeff Pigg, adding that the course and conditions at the meet were "perfect" for the morning competition. "I saw some things in this meet that I had been seeing in practice so that is promising. We had some breakthroughs on both the men and women's side so I thought overall we had a really good day."
Pigg made the decision to rest the four top male finishers from the Bulldogs' season-opening meet - senior Matt Cleaver, junior Brett Richardson, sophomore Brandon Lord and junior Brian Detweiler - and the top three finishers on the women's side in senior Kristie Krueger, junior Ashley Shiver and junior Leslie Boozer.
Baker took advantage of the smaller group competing for Georgia as he led the team for the first time in his career. Senior J.P. Hackney was not far behind after taking third with a 25:46.
Senior Nick Long (25:49) and sophomore Charlie Sparks (25:53) were the Bulldogs' next two finishers at sixth- and seventh-place, respectively. Junior Trevor Sprague wrapped up Georgia's scorers with a ninth-place finish after clocking a 26:19.
"I thought our guys got some good experience from this meet," Pigg said. "It was an early start to our morning today and we reacted well to the competition. I think this will be a big race for someone like Luke to build on and Nick continues to develop into a better runner."
After taking 15th at the season-opening Georgia Invitational, Hamilton recorded her first No. 1 finish for the Lady Bulldogs after registering a time of 22:37. Senior Abbie Robinson was on Hamilton's heels and finished third overall with a time of 22:39.
Fellow freshman Anna Bowles, who was also a scorer in the year's first meet, took fifth with a time of 22:42 to be Georgia's third scorer. Her freshman teammate Brooke Koblitz also finished in the top 10 with a 23:21 and senior Ali McWhirter (23:25) rounded out the Lady Bulldog scorers by taking 11th.
"Carly looked really strong today, I was encouraged to see her jump out there," said Pigg. "Abbie had been looking strong in practice for a while so I am pleased to see her do well in a meet. The experience and confidence both of them got from running at the front of the pack should be very valuable. We are starting to have more and more people reach that point where they are starting to look really good which should bode well."
Georgia returns to action at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind., on Sept. 30.
TOP FIVE TEAM FINISHES
Georgia - 27
Kennesaw State - 62
UNC-Wilmington - 91
Georgia State - 101
Tennessee Tech - 159
Georgia - 28
Georgia State - 33
UNC-Wilmington - 93
Kennesaw State - 135
Tennessee Tech - 160
BULLDOG INDIVIDUAL SCORERS
2. Luke Baker (25:41)
3. J.P. Hackney (25:46)
6. Nick Long (25:49)
7. Charlie Sparks (25:53)
9. Trevor Sprague (26:19)
2. Carly Hamilton (22:37)
3. Abbie Robinson (22:39)
5. Anna Bowles (22:42)
10. Brooke Koblitz (23:21)
11. Ali McWhirter (23:25)