ROCK HILL, S.C. (TheSAC.com) – The 2018 edition of the South Atlantic Conference women's cross country championship will take place on Saturday, November 3. All 11 teams will compete in Spartanburg, S.C. at the Milliken Research Center to take home the trophy.
Anderson won the Warrior Cross Country Invitational to open the season, with Abigail Bozarth earning the individual title. The Trojans had all top-5 finishers and seven of the top nine times. Taking second in their next meet at the North Georgia Cross Country Invitational, Bozarth excelled with a fifth place finish. Bozarth also won SAC AstroTurf Runner of the Week during the season. The Trojans, ranked third in the southeast in the USTFCCCA preseason poll, is currently fourth in the same standings.
The Eagles of Carson-Newman opened their season with a third place finish at the Lenoir-Rhyne Invitational. Rachel Strayer crossed the line in 13th, the second-best mark for a Division II runner, in her first collegiate race. She also capped off the regular season with a 24th place finish at the Queen City Invite (fourth-best time among Division II) and 31st at the Royals Challenge out of 414 runners.
Catawba started out of the gate strong with both men's and women's teams winning the Chick-Fil-A Invite to begin their 2018 campaign. Hannah Mercer won SAC AstroTurf Runner of the Week for her performance at the event, earning a first place time. Teammate Patience Hunt came in 2nd, and the Catawba Indians claimed three of the top four slots.
Coker also earned a win to open their schedule at the Carolina Challenge. The top three Division II finishers were Cobras: Breanna Sullivan, Chauntress Like, and Allanah Rauschenberger.
Breaking into the USTFCCCA regional rankings in week two, the No. 7 Lenoir-Rhyne Bears began and ended their season with titles. At the Eye Opener Invitational, the team topped their Division II competition. Kylie Dahlberg and Faith Faller finished 17th and 18th overall (1st and 2nd in Division II), along with fellow Bear Domtila Kiplagat claimed 21st and third among Division II runners. At the Lenoir-Rhyne Classic, Kiplagat took the individual title, with teammate Caroline Hilliard following in second place. Three of the top four runners were from the hosting school. The Bears took second place at the Lenoir-Rhyne Invitational in the second meet of 2018, trailing only Division I Appalachian State. Kiplagat finished 9th overall and first among DII competition. She also won conference runner of the week on three occasions, including the last two weeks of the season.
Ranked 10th in the USTFCCCA preseason poll, Lincoln Memorial had their highest finish of the season in their opening meet. In the Railsplitters fifth place mark, Kiley Holmes finished 13th.
Mars Hill had two third place runs during the season as the Lions' high marks. At the Bulldog Stampede, Angela Feeney earned a runner-up finish, while Meghan Noon collected 12th. At the Lenoir-Rhyne Classic, Feeney crossed the line in third. She also earned ninth at the North Georgia Invitational.
The Newberry Wolves secured a season-high third place at the Eye Opener Invitational in their season-opener. At the Koala Classic, Michelle Ling, Kenia Smith, and Alex Zimmer scored 6th, 11th, and 13th respectively.
Regional preseason No. 1, Queens sits in the national USTFCCCA polls in 21st. The Royals' season-high finish of fourth at the Royals Challenge came in a field of 45 teams across all levels. At the Charlotte Open, Queens claimed fifth, with the remaining teams all being Division I level. Gillian Kasitz collected 17th in the race. Natane Deruytter won conference runner of the week, along with finishing 15th at the Slippery Rock pre-national meet.
Tusculum comes into the conference run on a highnote, closing out the regular season with a second place finish at the Lenoir-Rhyne Classic. Alissa Furches, a SAC AstroTurf Runner of the Week honoree, crossed the line in fifth. In the season-opening Zaxby's Open, Furches completed the race in 6th.
Wingate gained a fifth place preseason regional nod from the USTFCCCA and is currently sitting in eighth. The Bulldogs' efforts at the Covered Bridge Open garnered them a fifth place finish, while Julie Diaz crossed the line in 21st, both of which topped Division II competition. As the host of the Bulldog Stampede, the team claimed the top-mark and Diaz earned the individual title. Six of the top seven times belonged to the Bulldogs. Diaz also has a conference runner of the week honor to her name.
The gun will fire at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday to start the women's conference tournament. Live results can be found here: http://results.tfmeetpro.com/TimingInccom/2018_South_Atlantic_Conference_Cross_Country_Championship/.
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