Tigers Fare Well at Home Meet
Sept. 9, 2011
AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn cross country teams both had strong showings on Friday, with the men taking the team title in the lone home meet of the season.
The men's team was expected to receive a boost from a pair of runners making their collegiate cross country debuts on Friday and the duo did not disappoint. Redshirt freshman Niklas Buhner (18:54.4) ran away from the field as he took the top individual spot in the 6k race.
"Buhner just got back from Europe from being at home and we also held out Kane Grimster last week," head coach Mark Carroll said. "The idea was to just give them an extra week of training and bring everyone over with a full team today.
"I think it was a good call. We've trained very over the last few weeks and to get a win at home is great. It will be a big confidence booster and a big morale booster moving forward from here."
The native German finished nearly 18 seconds ahead of the next competitor - Kennesaw State's Nabil Hamid (19:12.3).
Also running for the first time as an Auburn student-athlete was the freshman Grimster. The Australia-native crossed the finish line fifth in a time of 19:23.2. He was followed closely behind by teammates Jeff Sanders (7th - 19:38.6), Samuel Mueller (8th - 19:48.1) and Joby Peake (9th - 20:03.9).
That five-some gave the Tigers a solid lead in the points as they took the team title over Kennesaw State 30-59.
Auburn also placed three more runners in the top 13 to give it eight of the top 13 finishers. Griffin Jaworski followed up his strong first collegiate race last weekend at Troy with a 11th place finish and a time of 20:15.1 on Friday.
The women's race was nearly a repeat of last week as sophomore Elizabeth Briasco and junior Alissa Fisher were in contention for the race win until the final leg. Briasco would eventually take second place with a time of 14:42.8 - her second straight solid finish.
Fisher wasn't far behind, completing the race in 14:53.4 and in fourth place.
"Briasco and Fisher just got after it from the start," Carroll said. "Sometimes, when you have a home meet, you get a little excited. They both were able to really get after it today, which was great. The young lady from Samford caught Briasco late in the race, but she gave it her all. I couldn't be happier for the girls."
The pair's top four finishes enhanced Auburn's chances of an overall team win for the second week in a row, but the Tigers would ultimately finish a mere three points out of the top spot, but in third overall.
Georgia State took home the team title with 72 points, followed by Samford in second with 74 and the Tigers in third with 75.
Sophomore Erika Kolakowski was the next Auburn runner to finish. She came across in 15:34.9 (17th place). Rounding out the Tigers' scorers in the women's race were freshmen Molly Pezzulo (24th, 15:15.9) and Erin Fondren (28th, 16:00.7).
Overall, Carroll was pleased with his team's production on Friday afternoon.
"It was great today," the third-year coach said. "The ladies were third overall, which is a very good run on the home course, and the men were first. It's always good to get a win at home. Then you also have the individual winner in Buhner, which is awesome.
"I'm very proud of both teams for what they accomplished here today."
The Tigers now break from competition for two weeks before traveling to Tallahassee, Fla. to compete in the FSU Invitational on September 23.
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