BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Oct. 13, 2021)—–All 14 SEC schools will return to the cross country course this weekend in what will be the final competitions for most teams prior to the SEC Championships.
Eight schools will travel to Tallahassee, Fla., for Pre-Nationals. Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tennessee will run on Saturday at the site of the 2021 NCAA Championships.
Texas A&M and LSU will compete in the Arturo Barrios Invitational in College Station on Saturday, and in other action, Missouri will compete in the Nuttycombe Invitational, South Carolina will compete in the Pirate Invitational, while Mississippi State will travel to the Princeton Invite, and Vanderbilt will compete in the Blazer Classic.
In The Rankings
Three SEC women’s teams are listed in the top-15 of the last national rankings. Alabama moved up to No. 4, while Arkansas is 11th and Ole Miss is 14th. Arkansas is ranked eighth on the men’s side, while Alabama is 22nd.
Last time Out
Six Southeastern Conference cross country teams competed in the Joe Piane Invitational held in South Bend, Ind., and it was Alabama’s Mercy Chelangat who took home the individual crown in the women’s 5K. She opened her 2021 season by winning in a time of 16:10.3, followed closely by Crimson Tide rookie Flomena Asekol. In a field packed with ranked opponents, the No. 6-ranked Crimson Tide women finished third after tallying 147 points, just behind No. 1 NC State and No. 3 New Mexico. The Alabama men were sixth with 225 points to place as the top SEC team. Other SEC schools in the race were Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
At the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Ark., the Arkansas women finished first behind Krissy Gear’s first collegiate cross country title. Gear covered the 5,000m distance in a time of 16:24.3 to claim the win by 26.2 seconds over LSU’s Katy-Ann McDonald. In the men’s 8K, Arkansas tied for fourth, while LSU was sixth.
Missouri served as host to the Gans Creek Classic at the site of the 2021 SEC Championships later this month. Texas A&M and Missouri placed first and second, respectively, in the women’s 6K, while Missouri was fourth and Texas A&M was seventh in the men’s 8K. The Aggies’ Eric Casarez finished first in 23:36.5.
Florida also competed in the UCF Invitational, where the men’s team placed first and the women came in second. Javi Vento led the Gator men with a first place outing and a personal-best time of 18:46.6.
South Carolina earned a 10th place finish at the Paul Short Run on the campus of Lehigh. Mississippi State placed 19th at the Live at Lou Classic.
2022 NCAA Sites Announced
The NCAA announced this week nine host sites for the 2022 NCAA Cross Country Regional Championships. Missouri (Midwest) and Texas A&M (South Central) were selected as host sites from the SEC. Other selections include: Indiana State (Great Lakes), Penn State (Mid-Atlantic), New Mexico (Mountain), Columbia (Northeast), Florida State (South), Louisville (Southeast) and Washington (West).