Grimster, Briasco Post Top 20 Finishes at SEC Meet
Oct. 31, 2011
MARYVILLE, TENN. - Auburn freshman Kane Grimster finished the men's race 14th and Elizabeth Briasco was 18th in women's action at the 2011 SEC Championships hosted by the University of Tennessee on Monday.
Grimster was one of just three freshmen in the top 15 on the men's side and was named to the All-SEC Freshman team as well as a second team All-SEC performer for his efforts. He finished in 24:48.02 - a season-best on an 8k course for the Australia native.
Fellow freshman Niklas Buhner had been expected to be finish near the top, but a fall in mile two hurt the German's pace. Buhner ended up placing 45th and posting a time of 25:44.31.
"The fall really, really hurt us points-wise on the men's side," head coach Mark Carroll said. "Just based off of training, he should have been with Grimster, if not ahead. He ended up in the high 40's after the fall as he lost some ground and just never got back into it. Looking at that, the fall probably cost us 35-40 points which probably would have put us closer to fourth or fifth place overall - which is probably closer to where we should've been."
A pair of seniors added solid performances to cap their college careers at the SEC meet. Team captain Joby Peake was Auburn's second-best finisher in 35th place (25:25.59), and Mandeville, La.-native Jeff Sanders crossed the finish line in 25:37.20 (39th place).
"Peake had a great finish to his cross country career at Auburn," Carroll said. "He was 25:25 on a very tough course. He had a very good run. It was definitely one of the better runs of his college career. Jeff was right behind him. A very good run for him as well."
Peake's time was a new career-best mark, while Sanders posted a season-best performance in an 8k. Freshman Griffin Jaworski rounded out Auburn's scorers with a 50th place finish and new PR (25:58.09).
The men finished in eighth place with 183 points, just four behind seventh place Ole Miss. Arkansas took the men's title with 33 points.
On the women's side, it was once again sophomore Elizabeth Briasco and junior Alissa Fisher leading the Auburn charge. The women placed 10th with 247 points. Vanderbilt (30 points) won the women's championship.
Briasco made a late push in the final mile to claim 19th place in 21:25.14 - a 90 second improvement over her performance in the 2010 SEC Championship as a freshman. Fisher also had a solid day in her first conference meet. The Huntsville-native placed 31st and finished her first 6k run in 21:42.39.
"Fisher really got after it," Carroll said. "She put herself in a very good position. In the last K-and-a-half, she started to get a little tired, but this was her first time competing at this level. She gave it a very good shot. This was a whole new level of competition. Briasco made a nice push at the very end and got up into the top 20. She ran a very experienced race."
Carroll and his team were impressed with the quality course and the came away from the meet with a great impression, despite the unfortunate mishap in the men's race.
"I had heard it was a challenging course and it was," the third-year coach said. "There was very little room for relaxing. It was a very challenging course. Tennessee did a fabulous job. They have been using that course for 15 years and it was really a very well-run meet.
"It was just unfortunate that Buhner got tripped up. It was the difference in being top four or slipping down the field."
Auburn cross country now breaks from competition for 12 days to prep for NCAA regionals. The NCAA South Regional will be hosted by the University of Alabama on November 12.
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