Oct. 2, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. --- Junior Kristie Kruger clocked the second-fastest time in meet history to take second and lead Georgia's cross country teams at the ninth-annual Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday morning.
Krueger finished second in the women's 5k at the E.P. Tom Sawyer Park with a career-best mark of 16:37.13 behind Shippensburg University's Neely Spence (16:32.90), who broke the meet record. The Lady Bulldogs (198) finished third behind Grand Valley State (106) and Vanderbilt (107) in the 36-team field.
"We beat a lot of respectable teams on the women's side but still have a lot of work to do," said coach Jeff Pigg, who also watched Bridget Lyons, who wrapped up her cross country eligibility last season but will rejoin the Lady Bulldogs for the track season, take fourth overall (17:05.33). "This meet shows us what we have to do with the conference meet coming up. We have to keep the heat on and just see where we can go from here with the most important two months coming up."
For the men, freshman Brandon Lord led the Bulldogs for the first time in his career with a 44th-place finish (24:38.65) in the 8k contest. Georgia topped all of the other four Southeastern Conference teams at the meet and finished eighth overall with 330 points. The meet host, Louisville (97), won the meet as Colorado School of Mines (155) and Grand Valley State (172) took second and third, respectively, in the 39-team field.
After earning All-American honors in the mile during the 2010 indoor season, Krueger won Georgia's season-opening meet at home before sitting out the Lady Bulldogs' second meet to continue her training.
"Kristie is in the best shape of her life so I think many of the times she races this season, we will be seeing the best race she has ever run," said Pigg about his standout who was fourth at the 2009 SEC Championships. "We expect her to compete at an extremely high level and she is doing just that now at every meet."
Lord was competing in just his second collegiate meet after taking 10th at the Georgia-Georgia Tech Dual Meet earlier in the year. Pigg said he was expecting this type of performance from Lord since he signed with UGA.
"We knew (Brandon) was going to be a good one and it showed up today," said Pigg. "He has had a couple good weeks of training after being banged up earlier in the season. With another month of solid training, he is just going to keep getting better and better."
Freshman Sydney Marshall continued her development as one of Georgia's most reliable scorers. Marshall, who was the Lady Bulldogs' top finisher at the Georgia Tech dual meet finishing second overall, took 37th with a personal-best time of 17:47.50, which marks the first time she has broken 18 minutes.
Georgia's third scorer was senior Taylor Adams, finished 44th after crossing the finish line in 17:55.85. This was also the fastest time for Adams in her career.
The Lady Bulldogs next three scorers finished within five spots of each other. Sophomore Ashley Shiver managed a 64th-place finish (18:12.27) as sophomore Leslie Boozer took 67th (18:15.43) and junior Morgan VanGorder finished 68th (18:15.90).
"Taylor did a nice job today and has to keep getting up there as this season goes on," said Pigg. "I also though Sydney had another strong race at a meet where she was seeing the most competition she has seen all year long."
Junior Brett Richardson led the Bulldogs in their first two meets of the season after winning the Georgia Cross Country Invitational and finishing second in the dual meet. On Saturday, Richardson was Georgia's No. 2 finisher after taking 72nd with a time of 24:52.44.
Two spots behind Richardson was senior Caleb Vogt, who was 74th with a 24:53.82. Georgia's final two scorers took 81st and 82nd as junior J.P. Hackey ran across the finish line in 24:57.89 and freshman Charlie Sparks, who has scored in all three meets for the Bulldogs, had a time of 24:58.50.
"Charlie did a very, very good job and is proving he is going to be constant in our top five," Pigg said. "The guys were solid, but not where they need to be. I believe we can continue to improve and get to where we want to be as this season progresses."
Pigg also praised the efforts of freshman middle-distance runner Daniel Grass, who registered a time of 25:47.35.
Georgia will now continue preparations for the postseason over the next two weeks before traveling to Terre Haute, Ind., for the NCAA Pre-Nationals on Oct. 16.
Full results and a recap of the Greater Louisville Classic are located at georgiadogs.com.