Updated: Nov 15, 2018
The South region saw no change with Lee (Tenn.) staying at the top. Embry-Riddle won their conference meet and moved up a spot to #2 in the region. Also moving up a spot to #3 was Mississippi College. Alabama-Huntsville dropped two spots to #4 after finishing 3rd at the Gulf South Conference Meet.
Lee (Tenn.) has the fastest man in DII this year in Christian Noble who has had a breakout year this cross country season. They had a good showing at the Royals Challenge finishing 4th with Noble running 23:26. They didn’t race again until their conference meet where they scored 49 points with Noble, Caleb Eagleson, and Jared Herzog all inside the top 10. They had a very good effort from freshmen Casey Guthery and Dawson Reed. If that effort is replicated on Saturday, there should be no reason they aren’t on top.
Embry-Riddle handled their conference opponents rather well, winning their meet with 26 points. They won the D2 portion of the Mountain Dew Gator Cross Country Invitational and took 2nd at the Queen City Invite where they finished in front of Queens (N.C.). They raced quite a bit more than most teams did this year and it should give them some advantage when the weekend comes. Shaun Bullock, Lelei Too, and Calahan Warren have been the top three guys on the season. They’ll be looking to place these guys inside the top 20 with a chance to take home the South title.
Mississippi College jumped Alabama-Hunstville at their conference meet behind a strong pack that finished within the top 20 of the race. Jordan Pritchard was the 3rd place finisher while their fifth scorer crossed the line 44 seconds later. With three seniors in their top five, they’ll bring balance to this team who finished 13th last year in the South regional.
We saw these guys compete at the Louisville Classic where they raced the Blue section and finished 2nd ahead of some strong D2 teams. They took on Tarleton State at the Watson Ford Invitational where they finished 2nd overall.
Alabama-Huntsville went to the Chile Pepper Invitational where they finished 9th as a team. It looked to be a good stepping stone as they competed at the Royals Challenge where they finished 6th and then 2nd at the Bobcat Invitational. Jay Day is their strongest returner from last year and he's been finishing towards the front as of late. The likes of Benjamin Knox and Brydon Groves-Scott also joined Day in the top 10 at their conference meet to help their team finish 3rd overall. The four and five scorers didn’t have their greatest days, but they’ll be heavily relied upon this weekend.
1. Lee (Tenn.)
4. Mississippi College
5. Florida Southern
1. Christian Noble (Lee (Tenn.))
2. Ray Korir (Central State)
3. Jakob Bernal (West Alabama)
4. Trey Simons (Morehouse)
5. Jay Day (Alabama-Huntsville)
The top spot in the South region on the women’s side is also held by Lee (Tenn.). Tampa is currently #2 with Embry-Riddle moving up a spot over Alabama-Huntsville. Alabama-Huntsville now sits at #4 with Saint Leo at #5.
If replicating their regional ranking wasn’t enough, how about winning the team and individual title in your conference? Lee (Tenn.) won the Gulf South Conference with 46 points and were led by Chloe Flora who took the overall win. The junior was five seconds better than 2nd place and was followed by teammate Amy Carpenter who came in 4th. Lee finished 5th at the Royals Challenge behind a strong performance from Flora and a 1:13 spread time. They shouldn’t have much trouble getting through the regional and on to Nationals.
Tampa sits #2 in the region after edging out Embry-Riddle at their conference meet by three points. Shannon Sweeney and Zoe Jarvis were 5th and 6th, but it was really the 3-4-5-6 runners in Alexis Bible, Sydney Rhodes, Corinne Fanta, and Julia Lockridge who placed 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th (all three seconds apart from each other) that helped take home the title. Tampa finished 6th at Pre-Nationals with the same tactics.
Embry-Riddle saw a strong team finish at their conference meet behind performances from Sarah Edens and Kristen Metcalfe who placed 1st and 2nd to lead the way. Kara Funke was 12th while Josie Gray was 17th and Maggie Allen was 24th. Embry-Riddle didn’t race at a ton of big meets throughout the season, but they earned a 2nd place finish (behind Tampa) at the Mountain Dew Gator Invitational and another 2nd place finish (in front of Tampa, behind Saint Leo) at the South Florida Cross Country Invitational.
Alabama-Huntsville had a trio inside the top 10 at the Gulf South meet, but still fell short of Lee (Tenn.) by 19 points. Angel Mobley and Kaylee Stewart have led them throughout the season and seem to be respectable top scorers. Auburn Cohan has been a solid third scorer, but they’ll likely need a strong run from their 4-5 and runners to have a shot at a qualifying bid.
Something that is going to play a huge factor is that these teams are all familiar with each other, making the competition this weekend even more interesting to watch. Each team will know who to look out for and which runners will make the biggest impact.
1. Lee (Tenn.)
5. Florida Southern
1. Sarah Edens (Embry-Riddle)
2. Chloe Flora (Lee (Tenn.))
3. Justine Glass (Montevallo)
4. Makayla Hewell (Shorter)
5. Kristen Metcalfe (Embry-Riddle)