November 3, 2010
Women's Cross Country Team Wins SoCon Championship
The Samford University women's cross country team captured the Southern Conference Championship again Oct. 30 in Boone, N.C., while the men finished ninth in the meet hosted by Appalachian State. The title is the second consecutive for the Samford women after just three years in the league.
"Our women ran awesome today," Samford head coach Rod Tiffin said. "I was really excited for our group. I think we really showed the strength of our program today. Not only did our front runners run great but our middles and our back runners all ran great. It was really a team win. It really shows that what we are doing as a staff is really paying off and that we are doing things the right way. The girls really went out and showed that they are the champions that everyone thought they would be this year."
The Bulldog women topped the 12 team field with 71 points, just three points ahead of Appalachian State in second place. UNC Greensboro finished third with 87 points followed by Chattanooga in fourth place with 123 points and Elon in fifth place with 135 points. Furman (144) and College of Charleston (149) placed sixth and seventh followed by Davidson (161), Western Carolina (202) and Wofford (274) to round out the top ten. The Citadel (319) finished 11th while Georgia Southern (357) placed 12th.
Sophomore Bulldog Lauren D'Alessio led her team as she finished second overall with a time of 17:45.88. She was followed by senior Hillary Neal who finished third with a time of 17:50.56. Senior Ina Ables was the third Bulldog to finish in the top ten as she clocked a time of 18:25.44 to take ninth place. "It's really awesome to win two conference championships and as a senior, it was great to go out with a bang," Neal said. "We had a lot of fun and we really worked together as a team to get this far."
"It's great to win conference back-to-back and it's really special to when you are here with these girls and you've worked so hard all season and you just get to go out there and show everyone what you're about," D'Alessio said. "We just went out there and did our best, and it was enough!"
Red-shirt sophomore Deanna Zidar posted a time of 19:00.55 to place 23rd, while junior Alli Keithan grabbed 34th place with a time of 19:15.67. Freshman Claire Grogan finished 42nd with a time of 19:23.77 while sophomore Holly Benson rounded out the Samford field in 69th place with a time of 20:13.47.
D'Alessio and Neal also earned All-SoCon First Team honors for their placement in the top five while Ables earned Second Team honors. Grogan received All-Freshman team honors.
UNCG's Ashley Schnell won the individual women's title with a time of 17:39.98.
On the men's side, Appalachian State won its seventh consecutive team title. The Mountaineers (55) topped second-place UNCG by 11 points for the title. Chattanooga finished third with 74 points while Davidson (100) and Furman (118) rounded out the top five. Elon (153) came in sixth followed by Western Carolina (180) in seventh, College of Charleston (197) in eighth and Samford (236) in ninth. The Citadel finished in 10th place with 278 points while Wofford came in 11th with 292 points.
"I think we did take a step forward today on the men's side," Tiffin said. "We may not have run quite as well as a team as we wanted to, but individually, they did a good job. I think everyone either ran a personal best or as close to a personal best as they could have today. They are trying hard and getting better. Once we get a couple more recruiting classes behind these young guys, we are going to have a solid men's program as well."
Chattanooga's Emmauel Kirwa captured his third straight individual title followed by UNCG's Joey Thompson in second place and Davidson's Ryan Hopkins in third.
Freshman Layton Dorsett led the Bulldog men and finished 34th with a time of 26:11.13 to earn a place on the All-Freshman Team. Senior Scott Cope followed in 41st place with a time of 26:34.14 while freshman James Graham took 50th place with a time of 26:51.12. Freshman John Gayle clocked a time of 27:02.06 to take 55th place while sophomore Ramsey White (27:41.32) and freshman Henry Stevens-Carty (28:14.16) rounded out the Samford field in 68th and 76th places, respectively.
"Layton Dorsett really went out and put it all on the line today and was All-Freshman team and that showed a lot about what his capabilities are and where he can go from here," Tiffin said.
Now, the Bulldogs look to the NCAA Cross Country South Regional, which they will host Nov. 13 at Veterans Park in Hoover, Ala. The meet will feature teams from across the southeast including Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.