Cross country to kickstart postseason action at NCAA South Regional

AUBURN, Ala. – The men and women of Auburn cross country will get their first taste of postseason competition Friday morning at the NCAA South Regional in Huntsville, Alabama. The race will be held at the John Hunt Cross Country Course with the women’s 6k race set to lead off at 8:30 a.m. CT and the men’s 10k race to follow at 9:30 a.m. CT.

Of 40 total schools competing for the women and 29 for the men, only the top two in each race will automatically punch their tickets to compete at Nationals in Tallahassee, Florida.

“This field resembles the Pre-Nationals meet in many ways,” said Auburn cross country coach Aaron Kindt. “There will be 25-plus teams on both sides who are going to give it their all. We are aiming to be a top 10 team in both races for this meet. We want to give ourselves a nice springboard into track season.”

The Auburn women are looking to continue their steady improvement after clinching ninth at SEC Championships two weeks ago, their highest placement at the meet since 2016.

Running for women’s squad will be seniors Joyce Kimeli, Presley Weems and Louisa McPherson, junior Sara Pacer, sophomore Samantha Rogers and freshmen Hannah Thuss and Hallie Porterfield.

Kimeli is a two-time NCAA Cross Country Championship qualifier and is vying for her third trip to the championships as an individual. Only Angela Holman (2003-2005) has accomplished such a feat on either the men’s or women’s side for the Tigers. The veteran distance runner was also the women’s top finisher at SEC Championships, claiming silver and the Tigers’ highest placement at the meet since 2010.

Continuing to improve each meet, Pacer is another Tiger to keep an eye on. Last time out, the Auburn native shaved 21 seconds off her previous time to set a new career best 6k mark.

Lacing up for the men’s side will be seniors Jackson Thomas and Tommy McDonough, sophomores Carson Bedics and Ryan Kinnane and freshmen Cooper Atkins and Mark Foster.

Kinnane paved the way for the Auburn men at SEC Championships, finishing inside the top 30 and chiseling off more than 11 seconds for a new PR. Atkins and Foster also put together career-best 8k performances at the meet.

A total of four schools competing at the regional are nationally recognized in latest edition of the USTFCCCA Poll. For the women’s field, it is #9 Florida State, #11 Alabama, #15 Ole Miss and RV Tennessee. In the men’s field, it is #19 Ole Miss, #23 Florida State and RV Alabama.

Live timing for both races will be available at xpresstiming.com.

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