Senior Kristie Krueger finished 20th out of 305 runners at the Wisconsin Invitational.
Oct. 14, 2011
MADISON, Wisc. --- Georgia sophomore Brandon Lord and senior Kristie Krueger finished as a pair of the Southeastern Conference’s top performers to highlight the Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, Wisc., on Friday afternoon.
Lord topped all of the league’s representatives for 37th place out of 270 competitors with the Georgia men taking 21st overall (531) in the 8k race, which was 11 spots ahead of conference foe Florida. Krueger was the second SEC runner across the 5k finish line and 20th overall out of 305 runners as the Lady Bulldogs took 37th (883 points).
“It is hard to imagine how strong a meet this was,” said Bulldog distance coach Jeff Pigg. “Flotrack and several other groups who were at this meet along with most of the coaches are calling this one of the, if not the, best regular season meet that has been put together. And it feels good to say that our men’s team as a whole had one of the best meets we’ve had in a very long time.”
Meet host and second-ranked Wisconsin (66) ran away with the men’s championship with No. 6 BYU (120) finishing a distant second and No. 4 Stanford (125), No. 14 Princeton (227) and No. 7 Indiana (271) rounding out the top five.
No. 24 Washington (199) edged Vanderbilt (211) for the women’s title and No. 14 Arizona (230), No. 1 Villanova (232) and No. 6 Stanford (256) managed third- through fifth-place finishes, respectively, at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course near Wisconsin’s campus.
In the men’s half, Lord helped enable the Bulldogs to finish 21st in the team competition out of 39 teams. The Chattanooga, Tenn., native battled for a 37th-place finish after registering a 24:24, which was a career-best time and was 10 spots ahead of the next league finisher.
“Lord really run well and we knew this type of performance was coming from him, we knew it was in there,” Pigg said, adding that beating teams like 21st-ranked Syracuse and Air Force, who topped Georgia at the Notre Dame Invitational earlier in the year, shows his team is making improvements. “It was fun to watch Brandon lead this group to a great day today.”
Senior Matt Cleaver was next to break into the scoring column for Georgia as the 2010 SEC steeplechase champion took 67th with a time of 24:38. Finishing 16 seconds behind Cleaver was junior Brian Detweiler, who left Madison with a 116th-place finish (24:54).
“Cleaver was not hitting perfectly today, but did a good job and has much more in the tank,” said Pigg. “Brett was knocked down early in the race and never completely bounced back from that but still had a respectable finish. Also, I thought Luke and Detweiler did a great job scoring and even the two guys who didn’t score, J.P. Hackney and Nick Long, ran pretty good races. This was just a really tough field.”
Krueger, a 2010 All-American who was forced to redshirt the 2011 track seasons with a leg injury, led the Lady Bulldogs with a convincing performance versus the nation’s top talent. The Argyle, Texas, native clocked a 20:37 as she prepares to defend her SEC title in Maryville, Tenn., on Oct. 29 next.
“Kristie was in the lead pack for most of the race and feeling good so I think she is getting back to her level last season,” Pigg explained. “She is pretty close to being where she wants to be and is becoming more and more used to training in a little bit of a new way. Kristie is definitely coming on.
“For the rest of the crew, this was a meet that can be totally overwhelming for a young team so I think we struggled with that some. But I’m hoping that we can get everything together by the SEC Championships.”
Junior Ashley Shiver was second across the finish line for the Georgia women after taking 131st with a time of 21:30. Fellow junior Leslie Boozer, who joins Krueger and Shiver as a scorer in all three of the meets they have participated in already this year, finished 224th after completing the course in 22:03.
Georgia’s final two scorers were sophomore Savannah Kirk and freshman Carly Hamilton, who worked together to finish within five spots of each other. Kirk was 252nd overall (22:23) as Hamilton recorded a 256th-place finish (22:25) in just her fourth collegiate meet.
ALSO IN ACTION: A group of Georgia team members who did not travel to Madison headed west to Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday for the Crimson Classic on Saturday morning. The men will run the 8k course at the Harry Pritchett Running Park at 9:30 a.m. while the Lady Bulldogs will compete on the 5k course at 10:10 a.m.
Seniors Hadley Ferguson, Abbie Robinson, Ali McWhirter, juniors Nicole DiMercurio, Allyson McGinty, sophomores Ann Centner, Gabby Fulton, Bret McDaniel, Shelby Robison, Kathleen LaPorte and freshmen Brooke Koblitz and Erika Ramsey will represent the Georgia women at Alabama.
This will be an opportunity for the UGA runners to test out the course for the NCAA South Regional Championships, which arrive on Nov. 12. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Tennessee are the most notable opponents joining Georgia in Tuscaloosa.
Full results and a recap from the Wisconsin Invitational are also located at georgiadogs.com.