NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Georgia men’s cross country team matched their best-ever finish at the Southeastern Conference Championships by finishing second as a team on Friday morning at the Nashville/Davidson County Metro Park.
The second-place finish is tied for the best in school history, as Georgia also finished second at the SEC Championships in 2003. The men improved upon their third-place finish at this event last year and sixth-place finish in 2010.
The 28th-ranked Bulldogs scored a total of 73 points to finish behind champion Arkansas (35 points). Senior Matt Cleaver earned first-team All-SEC honors with a fifth-place finish on the 8k course in a time of 24:01.49. Cleaver has now scored at the SEC meet each year during his career, including an 8th-place finish last year that earned him second-team All-SEC honors.
Four other Bulldogs finished within the top-20 at the meet, led by Brandon Lord in 13th (24:15.45), Brian Detweiler in 16th (24:21.36), Luke Baker in 19th (24:26.66) and Brett Richardson in 20th (24:29.94).
Richardson also joins Cleaver in the ranks of scoring at each of the previous three SEC Championship meets during his career, while Lord scored for the third consecutive time at this meet. Detweiler and Baker both repeated as scorers for the Bulldogs at the SEC meet for the second consecutive season.
A pair of Bulldogs earned spots on the SEC All-Freshman team, as Sid Vaughn finished 37th overall in a time of 24:59.81 and Steven Spevacek claimed 52nd place in 25:27.88. The All-Freshman team consists of the top seven freshmen finishers at the meet, and Vaughn and Spevacek finished fourth and seventh, respectively, among freshman runners.
Also competing for Georgia at the meet was sophomore Zack Sims (47th – 25:18.85), junior Charlie Sparks (60th – 25:32.19) and sophomore Brendan Hoban (79th – 26:00.92).
For the Lady Bulldogs, sophomore Carly Hamilton raced to a fourth-place finish en route to earning First-Team All-SEC honors. Hamilton helped lead the Lady Bulldogs to a sixth-place team finish overall with a total of 132 points. Florida claimed the SEC championship with a score of 61 points, followed by Arkansas (70 points) in second place and Vanderbilt (119) in third.
Hamilton recorded a time of 20:39.11 on the 6k course and was just under 20 seconds behind SEC Individual Champion Cally Macumber of Kentucky (20:23.29). Senior captain Morgan VanGorder placed in the top 20 at the event, finishing 19th overall in a time of 21:18.89.
Fellow senior Leslie Boozer, a two-time scorer at this event in her career, once again turned in a strong performance for the Lady Bulldogs, as she placed third on the team and 32nd overall in 21:32.86.
Nicole DiMercurio (21:36.96) and Bret McDaniel (21:36.98) finished back-to-back in 38th and 39th place, respectively. McDaniel was racing in her first SEC Championship after transferring from Wake Forest, while DiMercurio achieved her career-best finish at this event after finishing 41st in 2010 and 74th in 2009.
Junior Stella Christoforou turned in a time of 21:55.77 to place 54th overall, and fellow junior Savannah Kirk finished directly behind in 55th place (21:57.06) in her first SEC Championship race.
Rounding out the competition on Friday for the Lady Bulldogs were sophomores Sarah Perry in 22:42.13 (92nd), Ericka Ramsey in 22:45.39 (93rd) and Anna Bowles in 22:49.44 (97th).
Georgia returns to action at the NCAA South Regional Championships in Tallahassee, Fla., on Friday, Nov. 9.
Women’s First-Team All-SEC:
Carly Hamilton (4th – 20:39.11)
Men’s First-Team All-SEC:
Matt Cleaver (5th – 24:01.49)
Men’s Second-Team All-SEC:
Brandon Lord (13th – 24:15.45)
Men’s All-SEC Freshman Team:
Sid Vaughn (37th – 24:59.81)
Steven Spevacek (52nd – 25:27.88)