BISHOP, Ga. --- Georgia’s cross country teams took care of the competition to sweep their second meet in a row at the Bulldogs’ muddy course in Bishop, Ga., on Saturday morning.
The Bulldogs blistered their nearest competitor, NATSTC, 15-60 on a course that had been getting rain for almost a week straight. Emory (69), Morehouse (128), North Georgia (139) and Piedmont (156) finished third through sixth place, respectively. Eight out of the first nine individuals finishers were current Bulldogs.
On the women’s side, the Lady Bulldogs scored a perfect score of 15 to beat Emory (50) for top honors. Augusta State (85), North Georgia (117) and Oglethorpe (149) rounded out the top five in order.
“You can’t control Mother Nature. The rain made everyone’s times not as fast, but I just think the day overall was really positive,” said Georgia cross country coach Jeff Pigg. “We had a lot of people and a lot of good teams that put on a good meet. There was a lot of mud, but if it was just another day, then it might not have been as memorable. I think people will remember the experience they had out here for a long time.”
Pigg also was pleased to see some of the state’s best high school talent and praised the event management for their work on Saturday.
“It was fun to see the high school teams and some of the best kids in the state, and I think that they all had a good experience,” Pigg said. “The event staff really worked hard to try to make it a good meet. Everybody came out, got wet and did their job.”
For the men, senior captain Bejan Abtahi won his second straight meet after clocking an 8K time of 26:43.30 during the men’s university race. Dustin Tetley, who is also a senior captain, was the runner-up after finishing in 26:45.60.
Freshman Bill Matthews had his second strong showing after registering a time of 26:47.50 to take fourth overall and be the third Bulldog across the finish line. Georgia’s fourth and fifth scorers were sophomore Matt Cleaver (26:532.60) and senior Brian Potts (27:07.80).
Former Bulldog All-American Ross Ridgewell (26:47.30) finished third place overall.
“Bejan looked really good, as well as Bill Matthews,” Pigg said. “Dustin Tetley, who we knew would be a strong guy for us, did a great job. Cleaver came out and ran an efficient race too.”
Individually for the women, Georgia sophomore Kristie Krueger sped to a 5K finish of 18:54.29 to win her second straight race of the season. Senior Bridget Lyons, who is a co-captain with Krueger, finished second overall after clocking a 19:16.51.
"It was an interesting and fun experience," said Krueger. "I was more concerned about not falling down than actually running. But our team has had a good start and this was a nice race before a big meet like Notre Dame. We are looking forward to seeing how we compare to the national competition."
The Lady Bulldogs, who finished first through eighth in the race, had senior McKayla Plank (19:24.17), senior Ilana McQuinn (19:41.26) and senior Katie Weise (19:44.47) rounded out the scorers for Georgia by taking third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
“Our top three girls looked really good,” Pigg said. “Kristie, Bridget and McKayla were all under control and did a nice job. Ilana McQuinn did a great job, and she was in our top five for the first time ever in cross country. Leslie Boozer, who broke her foot playing basketball in high school last year, did fantastic and was the eighth runner for us.”
Georgia returns to action in South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, Oct. 2. The Bulldogs and the Georgia women will matched up with some of the nation’s elite squads when they make the journey to Indiana.
Full results and a recap from the Georgia Cross Country Invitational, including the high school results, are located HERE.