Richardson and Grace Take Home All-SEC Honors at XC Champs
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Junior John Richardson and senior Allison Grace paced the Wildcats at Saturday’s SEC Cross Country Championships en route to both earning All-SEC honors. Richardson led the men’s squad with a tenth place finish, while Grace took home All-SEC honors for a third time with a third place finish.
As a team, the UK women came through with an impressive fourth place finish on the 6K course after finishing eighth last year.
Grace (19:52) got out to a strong start, running among the front five runners for a majority of the race before pulling away for third. The Marble Cliff, Ohio native ends her SEC Championships career with three top-10 finishes. Grace’s three-time All-SEC career matches former Wildcat standout Caity Phillips (2001-03).
“It helps being a fifth-year senior,” Grace said. “I’ve competed in this race four times and know what it takes to have a good performance. It was my last SEC Championships so I wanted to go out with a bang and help the team to a good finish.”
Following Grace were a cluster of three Wildcat harriers. Sophomore Liliane Sparkes finished 23rd (20:55), followed closely by junior Georganne Way (25th, 21:02) and sophomore Lavera Morris (29th, 21:09).
A key performance for the Cats was freshmen Andrea Halasek’s 41st-place finish, helping solidify UK’s fourth place result.
Auburn’s Angela Homan won the individual title for the third consecutive year, while Tennessee completed the team three-peat by placing three runners in the top 10.
As a team, the Kentucky men placed ninth on the 8K course. With a strong performance Saturday, Richardson has showcased drastic improvement over the last three races after placing 44th at the Notre Dame Invite (9/30), 33rd at the Penn State Nationals (10/16), and now tenth at the SEC’s. For his efforts, the Ocean City, N.J. native earned second-team all-conference honors.
“Anytime you compete well at a meet of this caliber you have to be pleased,” Richardson said. “I feel I am moving in the right direction and am looking forward to regionals and having the chance to earn an NCAA Championships berth.”
Junior Jonathan Thomas was the second Wildcat to cross the finish line, placing 49th (24:58), followed by sophomore Andre Silva (51st, 25:02).
Stephan Smith (73rd), senior Andrew Thompson (74th) and freshmen Ryan Finn (77th) and Bruce Hordusky (84th) also competed.
Arkansas won its unprecedented 16th consecutive SEC team crown, placing all five runners in the top 10, including now two-time champ, Josphat Boit (22:59).
Men – 8K (7,900 meters)
Women – 6K