ELON, N.C. – The Elon men’s and women’s cross country programs are set to compete in the 2012 Southern Conference Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27. The meet will be hosted by The Citadel at the course on Laurel Hill Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. The event will begin with the women’s 5K race at 10 a.m., followed by the men’s 8K at 10:45 a.m.
Elon will be competing against some talented schools on both sides in one of the deepest fields in recent SoCon history. The 12-team women’s field consists of three teams currently ranked in the top 15 of their respective regions including the Phoenix and Appalachian State in the Southeast and Samford in the South.
Defending champion UNCG has top returning individuals in Chelsea and Shaina Sumney, who both finished in the top 10 in the 2011 championships. Overall, six of the top 10 finishers from last year’s meet return.
On the men’s side, the 11-team field features defending champion UNCG and Paul Chelimo, who claimed the 2011 individual crown. UNCG and Davidson are ranked in the regional standings in the Southeast while Chattanooga sits at No. 12 in the South. Including Chelimo, seven of the top 10 runners from 2011 return for the men.
The Elon men and women finished sixth and third, respectively, in last year’s championships with Luis Vargas and Allyson Oram setting school records during the event. Vargas finished in 8th place after running a then personal and program-best time of 24:49.07. Oram earned a ninth place standing after running a program-record time of 17:30.20.
Vargas became only the second male runner in school history to earn All-SoCon honors after recording the best finish by a Phoenix male in the championship meet. Vargas claimed All-SoCon second team honors and earned SoCon All-Freshman accolades along with teammate Sean Magee, who ran a time of 25:09.08, third fastest time in school history. The men had four runners run personal-bests and two new performances added to the all-time list.
Oram earned second team All-SoCon honors while teammate Haylee Dawe was placed on the SoCon All-Freshman Team. Eight members on the women’s side ran personal-bests, added five times to the school’s all-time performance list and placed five runners in the top 50.
On the women’s side, the Phoenix has won two meets on the year taking home the team title in the Demon Deacon Quad on Aug. 31, and at its host meet, the Elon Invitational, on Sept. 15. In addition, six runners have placed in top 10 all-time performance lists this season. Freshmen Elyse Bierut and Oram ran the second an third fastest times in school history, respectively, in the Phoenix’s recent meet at the NCAA Pre-Nationals on Oct. 13, in Louisville, Ky. Bierut ran a time of 21:50.06 while Oram clocked in at 21:51.00 in the 6K race.
The men also won the team title at the Elon Invitational, placed third at the Demon Deacon Quad and fourth at the Royal XC Challenge on Oct. 12. Vargas ran a time of 24:16.00 at that meet, breaking his own school-record, and came in fifth overall. He currently ranks third on the conference’s performance list on the year.
The top seven individuals in each race will earn first-team All-SoCon accolades. Individual finishers placing eighth through 14th in each race will comprise the second-team all-conference.
For more information on the 2012 SoCon Championships visit the conference’s website at http://www.soconsports.com.