Oct. 12, 2012
MADISON, Wisc. --- The Georgia cross country teams had a pair of top-30 finishes and improved from last year against many of the country's top teams at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Friday afternoon.
Senior Matt Cleaver highlighted the men's 18th-place finish (505 points) by taking 46th individually in the 6k race. Cleaver completed the course in 24 minutes flat, as Georgia was the second team from the Southeastern Conference to finish.
The Lady Bulldogs scored 719 points to take 29th in the women's 6k competition, which is an eight-place improvement for the Georgia women from their 2011 finish. Sophomore Carly Hamilton scored for the third consecutive meet after clocking a 20:41 for 74th place.
"I was really pleased with how both teams competed against some of the top talent in the country," said Bulldog distance coach Patrick Cunniff. "I think our crew handled the circumstances of running against a huge field and a high-quality field very well.
"I think the guys moving up three spots from last year's finish with a field as deep or deeper than last year is exceptional. Cleaver put on a very strong performance and (Luke) Baker continues to compete at a high level. Brandon Lord did not have his best meet, but we know he will be back at his usual level when it counts.
"On the women's side, this is the first time we've seen a complete effort from our whole team and I think things are coming together. They ran a smart, tough race. Carly and Morgan trimming about two minutes off their finishes from last year was great news for this team. Carly has become a steady leader and Morgan really ran an amazing race today. I think it was an overall solid effort."
During Georgia's fourth meet of the season, junior Luke Baker finished behind Cleaver and scored for the third time in 2012 after taking 74th (24:09). Fellow junior Brandon Lord, who led Georgia last season at the meet, came across the line in 111th place with a time of 24:20.
The Bulldogs' final two scorers on the day were seniors Brian Detweiler and Brett Richardson. Detweiler was running in his second meet of the season and was 115th (24:22) while Richardson crossed the finish line in 24:32 for 159th place.
Hamilton led the charge in the field of 327 runners, but senior Morgan VanGorder also broke into the top 100. VanGorder took 87th after registering a time of 20:45. Her senior teammate Leslie Boozer was next to score for the Lady Bulldogs with a 169th-place finish (21:11).
Bret McDaniel finished two spots behind Boozer for 171st place (21:12) as she scored in her third straight meet. Georgia's final finisher in the top five was junior Savannah Kirk, who managed a 218th-place finish with a time of 21:31.
This meet is Georgia's final tune-up before the SEC Championships in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 26.