Athens, GA - After enjoying the friendly confines of their home course for two meets, Georgia’s cross country teams travel to Louisville, Ky., to compete in the ninth-annual Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday morning.
The Bulldog men, along with 38 other teams, will kick off the action in the men’s 8k Gold Race at 9:30 a.m. at the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park. The Georgia women will join 35 other teams in the women’s 5k Gold Race at 10:15 a.m.
Southeastern Conference foes Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Ole Miss are among a host of teams Georgia will be facing at the meet.
The UGA women are ranked fourth in the most recent USTFCCCA South Regional poll while the men are holding down the No. 5 spot in the poll. Coach Jeff Pigg is expecting this to be valuable experience for his teams as they head to a meet where a total of 97 colleges or universities from 20 different states are represented.
“This is the first time I have taken a squad to Louisville but I have always heard it is a nice course and a very well-run meet with quality competition,” said Pigg. “The previous results from this meet indicate some high-level competition. There are five SEC teams headed up there so it will be another good measuring stick for our teams as we near the conference championships.”
Pigg added that with the Vanderbilt women ranked in some national polls and ahead of his team in the regional rankings, this will give the Lady Bulldogs extra motivation to excel in Louisville.
The following Lady Bulldogs will be traveling: freshmen Sydney Marshall, Kiara McCue-Woods, Emily McNutt, Shelby Robison, Stella Christoforou, Sarah Hope, Savannah Kirk and Kathleen LaPorte, sophomores Nicole DiMercurio, Ashley Shiver and Leslie Boozer, juniors Kristie Krueger, Abbie Robinson and Morgan VanGorder and seniors Taylor Adams and Emily Houston.
For the men, freshmen Charlie Sparks, Luke Baker, Colin Bishoff and Brandon Lord, sophomores Brian Detweiler, Daniel Grass, Kyle James and Fraser Reade, juniors Brett Richardson, Miles Svoboda and J.P. Hackney and seniors Caleb Vogt and Travis Voyles will be representing UGA.
With a total of 12 freshmen traveling and numerous other newcomers to the program present on the travel roster, Pigg is optimistic about his teams’ chances during their first away meet
“There is a high level of energy with our new teams,” Pigg said. “We have a lot of young kids who will be making their first trip with the team so it will be interesting. We have a lot we hope to accomplish this year and this will give us a good look at where we are right now.”
This will be Georgia’s last meet before the NCAA Pre-Nationals arrive in Terre Haute, Ind., on Oct. 16. The Bulldogs will battle the rest of the league at the SEC Championships in Columbia, S.C., on Nov. 1.
“A meet like this helps prepare us for the championship portion of the season as we face bigger fields with more national-caliber runners,” said Pigg. “This is an exciting time of the year where we venture out and see some even better competition than we have faced so far this season.”
Georgia swept both of its home meets earlier this season. In the season opener, the Lady Bulldogs cruised to a 27-54 victory over their nearest opponent at the Georgia Cross Country Invitational as Krueger won the race with a 16:55.62. Krueger was later named the SEC Female Runner of the Week after her win.
Richardson captured the win on the men’s side with an 8k time of 24:33.18. The Bulldog men won their opener 24-37.
Georgia Tech visited the Bulldogs’ home course in Bishop during the year’s second meet and left with a pair of losses. Despite the Yellow Jackets picking up the individual victories in each side, the Georgia women routed the Jackets 20-43 as the Bulldog men won 23-34. Marshall finished second overall (18:11.06) on the women’s side as Richardson took the No. 2 spot on the men’s side with a time of 25:22.84.
Despite not grabbing the individual victories versus Georgia Tech, the Georgia women finished second through 10th and the UGA men crossed the finish line from second through fifth place and ninth through 11th.
Full results and a recap from the Greater Louisville Classic will be found at georgiadogs.com.