ORLEANS, La. The Huntingdon women's cross country program
was recognized this week by the United States Track & Field
and Cross Country Coaches Association as an All-Academic team. The
Hawks had a cumulative GPA of 3.22 through the fall semester.
"This is a great recognition for our program and the school,"
Huntingdon cross country coach Nate Rucker said. "I'm proud
of them for this accomplishment. It shows how hard these girls work
to prepare for competition and for class.
"This is the second year our girls have been recognized. That's
a streak we hope to keep building on for years to come."
Huntingdon was one of 187 women's cross country teams to earn All-Academic
status. To be eligible, a team must maintain a 3.10 cumulative GPA.
After claiming the Great South Athletic Conference Cross Country
championship in October, the Piedmont Lady Lions along with Maryville
and Huntingdon runners will be racing in the Regional this weekend
in Sequin, Texas on the campus of Texas Lutheran University.
For the Lady Lions, a slew of youngsters will be featured in the
race as newcomers Holli Abernathy, Jasmina Szczesna, Megan Zanone,
and Rachel Tolliver all finished in Piedmont's top five at the GSAC
championships and will represent the Lady Lions at the NCAA meet.
Joining them is former GSAC Freshman of the Year and 2011 All-Conference
performer Molly Atkinson who leads a pack of young runners eager
to make a splash in Texas.
As the 2011 GSAC Freshman of the Year, Abernathy looks to be Piedmont's
first women's cross country runner to make an appearance at the
NCAA National Meet in the program's nine-year affiliation with Division
III. The youngster from Blairsville, GA posted four top five finishes
in six events during the 2011 season with an average mile time just
over seven minutes on the year though Coach Patterson thinks her
development may have come from the example set by the veteran Atkinson.
Conference meet runner-up Huntingdon is sending
nine athletes to the meet including All-Conference honorees Caitlin
McMahon and Shearney Marshall. McMahon looks to capitalize on her
finish in Regionals from last season where she finished 34th and
earned All-Region honors. Joining McMahon and Marshall are Jackie
Daniels, Whitney Denney, Brianna McClure, Chala Monk, Rachael
Phillips, Hannah Still, Jodie Thomas and Carly Williamson.
All the runners will compete in the NCAA South/Southeast Regional
Meet hosted by Texas Lutheran University on Saturday, November 12th
with the women starting at 10:00 am Eastern while the men follow
one hour later. Results can be found following the competition at
the South/Southeast Regional homepage.
Tenn. Saturday wasnt the result the Huntingdon womens
cross country team wanted.
The Hawks placed five runners in the Top 16 but missed out on a
third straight Great South Athletic Conference title. Piedmont won
the GSAC championship with a score of 29. Huntingdon was second
with 44 points.
Our goal was to win and its disappointing to finish
second, Huntingdon coach Nate Rucker said. But Im
not disappointed in the effort our girls gave. The girls ran hard
and gave it everything they had. We battled the whole race. It just
wasnt our day.
Three-time defending GSAC Runner of the Year Caitlin McMahon led
Huntingdon with a time of 26:55.06 and an eighth-place finish in
the 6k race.
Caitlin has been battling an injury, but she gave us everything
she had and she did everything she could do today, Rucker
said. I dont think words can really describe what Caitlin
has meant to this program and what she has done in four years. She
came in as a freshman and took control of the conference. She was
the first person in conference history to win three straight individual
titles. Today wasnt her day, but she has a lot to be proud
of and a lot of accomplishments to look back on.
Sheaney Marshall was 10th with a time of 27:25.04, Jackie Daniels
was 14th (28:18.11), Rachael Phillips was 15th (28:25.02), Brianna
McClure was 16th (28:30.79), Whitney Denney
was 22nd (30:01.57), Hannah Still was 24th (30:22.08),
Jodie Thomas was 34th (31:26.07), Chala Monk was 53rd (34:11.65)
and Carly Williamson was 58th (36:16.92).
Im proud of all of these girls, Rucker said. Its
going to be tough to lose these seniors. When we started the team,
Jackie Daniels was the first person to commit to run for us. This
class has been a special part of this program and they helped build
it from the ground up. I couldnt have asked for a better group.
Ala. The Huntingdon mens and womens cross country
teams each placed fourth on Saturday in the 12th annual Coach O
Georgia State swept both races and Troy University was second in
each. On the mens side, Georgia State finished with a score
of 20, followed by Troy at 56, Morehouse State at 70 and the Hawks
The Huntingdon women finished with a score of 107. First-place Georgia
State had a score of 15, followed by second-place Troy at 57 and
third-place Albany State at 78.
Georgia States Valentin Poncelet won the mens 8k race
with a time of 25:58.55. Alex Taylor and Jeff Jenkins led the Hawks
as four Huntingdon runners finished in the top 30 and all six placed
in the top 40.
Taylor was 16th with a time of 29:51.87 and Jenkins was 17th with
a time of 29:52.11. Patrick Cross was 23rd at 30:54.44, McDowell
Pinckard was 27th at 32:21.53, Drayton Rodgers was 39th at 35:20.65
and Alex Dunkel was 40th at 35:50.23.
Senior Caitlin McMahon led the Huntingdon women with a 14th-place
finish and a time of 21:35.20. Georgia State runners swept the top
six places and placed nine runners in the top 13. Hannah Stefanoff
won the 5k meet with a time of 18:49.91
Behind McMahon, Huntingdons Rachael Phillips was 22nd at 23:37.40,
Jackie Daniels was 27th at 25:10.56, Brianna McClure was 30th at
25:32.09, Whitney Denney was 31st at 25:39.63,
Hannah Still was 32nd at 26:02.56, Jodie Thomas was 36th at 28:31.25
and Carly Williamson was 42nd at 33:39.19.
Tenn. The Huntingdon mens and womens cross country
teams returned to competition on Saturday in the Rhodes College
Cross Country Invitational.
The Huntingdon men placed ninth with a score of 258 and the women
were 10th with a score of 280.
Memphis swept the men's and women's titles. The men won with 33
points and the women won with 34 points.
Memphis James Maglasang won the mens race with a time
of 25:05. Rhodes Maddie Harrigan won the womens meet
with a time of 22:13.
Caitlin McMahon finished in 28th place with a time of 24:21 to lead
the Huntingdon women. Sheaney Marshall turned in a time of 26:46
for the Hawks, followed by and Rachel Phillips at 27:33, Whitney
Denney at 28:50, Jackie Daniels at 29:01, Brianna McClure
at 29:27, Hannah Still at 29:48, Jodie Thomas at 32:10, Chala Monk
at 32:22 and Carly Williamson at 36:25.
Jeff Jenkins led the Huntingdon men, placing 41st with a time of
28:15. Alex Taylor had the Hawks second best time at 29:13.
Patrick Cross was next with a time of 29:59, followed by McDowell
Pinckard at 30:52, Ian Layne was at 30:57, Drayton Rodgers and Alex
Dunkel at 34:23.
It was a good meet for us and we were happy with the way we
ran, Huntingdon coach Nate Rucker said. There was a
lot of good competition and this will help us get ready for the
next portion of the season. Weve still got a lot of work to
do, but were looking forward to our next meet.
The Hawks travel to the Jacksonville State University Foothills
Invitational on Oct. 8.