`Great' Wisconsin Invitational Awaits Georgia Cross Country

Oct. 13, 2011

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ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia's cross country teams will compete in their fourth meet of the season as the Wisconsin Invitational arrives at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course in Madison, Wisc., on Friday afternoon.

The Lady Bulldogs will kickoff the action with their 6k race at 2 p.m. ET.  The Georgia men will take their 8k course at 2:40 p.m.  This marks the second 6k race for the Georgia women this season and the fourth 8k for the Bulldog men.

There are 41 other collegiate teams in the women's field and a total of 39 competing squads on the men's side.  Highlighted by top-ranked Villanova and second-ranked Providence, there are 18 teams ranked in the top 30 running in the women's race.  Second-ranked Wisconsin headlines 20 ranked teams prepared to battle in the men's showdown.

"This is shaping up to be a great meet this year with some of the best teams in the nation coming," said Bulldog distance coach Jeff Pigg.  "Everyone at a meet of this caliber wants to get out quick and stay out front and not everyone can, so it should be two interesting races."

Senior Kristie Krueger, junior Leslie Boozer, junior Ashley Shiver, sophomore Savannah Kirk, freshman Anna Bowles, senior Morgan VanGorder and freshman Carly Hamilton are traveling for the Georgia women. 

"This is a great opportunity for someone like Kristie, who has proven that she is one of the nation's top runners, as well as the rest of our team," said Pigg, who is closely monitoring Krueger's training after an injury forced her to redshirt both track seasons in 2011.  "There will be plenty of top-level talent out there and hopefully our girls will stay in contention from start to finish.  We have altered Kristie's training so that she is hopefully just as effective during the track season this year as she was during last year's cross season.  We are searching for that blend and counting on her to continue her success at this meet."

Senior Matt Cleaver, junior Brett Richardson, sophomore Brandon Lord, junior Brian Detweiler, sophomore Luke Baker, senior J.P. Hackney and senior Nick Long will be making the trip to represent the Bulldogs men.

"For the guys, this is a perfect opportunity to gain some ground as they try to advance to nationals," said Pigg.  "We've lined up and gotten better after each race so I'm anxious to see where we have progressed now.  We truly want to be one of the teams why this is such an exceptional meet.  We're not there yet, but I feel like we are getting close."

Wisconsin's course is adjacent to the university's golf course and Pigg is excited to see his teams compete on the trails.

"It makes sense with the tradition of Wisconsin cross country that they have one of the best courses in the country," said Pigg.  "It should be beautiful up around that part of the country at this time of year and we all just can't wait to get there."

Georgia is coming off two weeks of training since the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 30. Krueger led the Lady Bulldogs individually after taking 17th with a 5k time of 17:23.  Boozer (72nd), Shiver (92nd), Kirk (122nd) and Bowles (126th) all scored as UGA finished 18th.

Cleaver led the Bulldogs for the second meet this season with a 38th-place finish (24:50) in South Bend.  Richardson (50th), Lord (67th), Detweiler (85th) and Baker (104th) rounded out the top five for Georgia as the team left with a 13th-place finish.

Syracuse is the defending women's team champion at the Wisconsin meet while Florida's Charlotte Browning, who completed her career last season with the Gators, won the individual crown.  Indiana won the 2010 men's team title and Princeton's Donn Cabral was the first overall finisher.

ALSO IN ACTION: A group of Georgia team members who are not traveling to Madison will be heading west to Tuscaloosa, Ala., 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.

Junior Trevor Sprague, sophomore Charlie Sparks, freshmen Brendan Hoban, Zack Sims and Austin Ulich are the five Bulldogs scheduled to travel to the Crimson Classic.

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 of the Wisconsin Invitational and the Crimson Classic will be located on georgiadogs.com.

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