NCAA Championships Arrive For Bulldogs



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Athens, Ga. -- Members of the University of Georgia men's and women's cross country teams are set to compete in the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday, Nov. 21. While junior Ian Burrell will be the only representative for the men, head coach Dave Hartman will be taking senior Lauren Burks, junior Jill Steffens, sophomores Nicole DeMarco, Rebekah Madebach, Sarah Madebach, Kiah Vernon and freshman Jill Skinner to compete in the team portion on the women's side.

The women, who took 24th in the Championships last season, will be running in the 8K and the men, who finished 25th in 2005, will be competing in the meet's 10K. After an eighth-place finish in the NCAA South Regional meet in Gainesville, Fla., on Nov. 12, Burrell will be the sole Bulldog running from the men's team. Although Burrell will be the only male racer in Georgia's red and black, Hartman is not anticipating a weaker race from his standout.

"Fortunately, some of his teammates have continued to train with him which has helped keep some normalcy," Hartman said, adding that the top 30 finishers in both races are named All-Americans. "His training has been business as usual and although it will be obvious on Monday that none of his teammates are racing, there's no reason he can't finish as an All-American."  

Both Georgia teams have already tested the weather conditions in Terre Haute, Ind., at the Pre-Nationals on Oct. 15. The women's team managed a 12th-place finish and Burrell grabbed the 10th spot overall in the men's race. This week the weather in Terre Haute has ranged from temperatures in the upper-20s to the mid-50s with some rain.

"Ian is from Colorado so the cold conditions can only help him," Hartman said.

The No. 28th-ranked women's squad is coming off a second-place finish at the NCAA South Regional, as Burks notched a sixth-place overall finish. Tennessee's women were the only group to finish ahead of Georgia in the South Region meet and Hartman expects another strong outing.

"If our top five girls run solid races, we can be a top 25 team, top 20 on a great, great day," Hartman said. "At the Championships, there is so much hype that some teams fold and so we just have step up and perform."

The Bulldogs broke into the top 10 on the individual side during last year's NCAA Championships. Simon Ngata, a senior from Kenya on last year's team, placed sixth overall in the men's 10K with a time of 30:56.5. In addition, Swope (32:52.9), Burrell (33:10.1), Phillip Bett, Eichenlaub and Miller all competed for Georgia against runners from across the nation.

For the women, Burks clocked in at 21:47.6 (87th place) in the 8K to lead her team in its postseason action. While Kristin Heffelfinger, Sarah Madeback and Jill Steffens all ran for Georgia, Whitni Wonderlin was next across the finish line after Burks at 22:21.9 and Natalie Pichetti finished in 22:23.3 to mark the third Georgia finisher.

Results from Monday's meet will be posted on georgiadogs.com as soon as the results are reported.

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