ANDERSON, S.C. – On the heels of an impressive runner-up finish at the 2018 South Atlantic Conference Championships two weeks ago, the Anderson women's cross country team will head back to the mountains of the Peach State on Saturday for the NCAA Southeast Region Championships, which will be hosted by North Georgia on the Nighthawk's Gainesville campus in Oakwood, Ga.
The Trojans finished as runners-up at the 2017 NCAA Southeast Region Championships at Wingate last season, becoming the first cross country team in school history to qualify for the NCAA National Championships.
The championships start at 9 a.m. with the men's 10k race and will be followed at 10:15 a.m. by the women's 6k. The course was also the site of the Sixth Annual North Georgia Invitational in late September and was home to the 2015 Peach Belt Conference Championships.
The top three teams from the regional meet will automatically advance to the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships, which will be held in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Saturday, Dec. 1. The top five individuals who are not part of a qualifying team will also automatically advance to the championship and the next eight individuals will be selected at-large.
The Trojans, who were ranked fourth in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) DII Regional Rankings, will contend with regionally top-ranked and nationally 23rd-ranked Queens, which claimed the South Atlantic Conference championship and Mount Olive, which is No. 2 in the region. Flagler checked in a No. 3 in the latest regional poll, with the host Nighthawks fifth.
Senior Abigail Bozarth paced the Trojans with an eighth-place finish at the SAC Championships, while covering the 6k course in a time of 22:49.4 and claiming Second-Team All-SAC honors. Sophomore Olivia Evans also captured Second-Team All-SAC honors by crossing the finish line in a career-best time of 22:52.1 and finishing ninth.
Sophomore Olivia Rish earned Honorable Mention All-Conference accolades after finishing 15th in a career-best time of 23:15.5, with senior Maddie Buddenberg taking 22nd place in a time of 23:41.7. Junior Martha Coleman claimed 27th place in a time of 23:58.8, while Lydia Gambrell (24:24.3) took home 33rd place.
Freshman Kamryn Osterbind posted a career-best time of 24:31.2 and claimed 35th place, with senior Allyson Malone (24:49.7) crossing the finish line in 39th place. Sophomore Hannah Beach (25:46.4) finished 55th and junior Emily Olson finished 59th in a personal-best time of 26:06.2.
Queens is the defending region champion, while Mount Olive claimed third place behind the Trojans a year ago. North Georgia took fourth in 2017, followed by Wingate in fifth.