Southeast Regional: Men's and Women's Preview
October 20th, 2018
Southeast's most decorated female runner, Katelyn McCracken from Duke, graduates leaving the individual title up for grabs. Little depth on the men's side, can underclassmen step up for their teams?
Southeast Regional Preview - Women (Wingate, NC)
The Southeast Regional moves to Wingate University this year and for the first time in two years, there will be a new individual champion since Katelyn McCracken, Duke, has graduated. Katelyn was one of the most dominant runners ever in NIRCA history, winning the 2016 and 2017 Southeast Regional and National. She carried Duke to third place last year, but they may not have enough this year to place.
North Carolina State and North Carolina are set to battle again for 1st and 2nd and both return several top runners from last year’s squad. North Carolina are your reigning champs but will need others to step up since they only return three top 30 runners from last year, led by Bridgette Sullivan who finished 9th last year and will be hoping to fight for first place individually. She is supported by returners Lauren Dicktel (16th) and Lauren Revis (26th), and are hoping Lauren Copperthwaite and Faith Roy, who finished 5th and 7th at the Carolina Classic, can run well and repeat.
North Carolina State are primed to overcome their rivals and win this year thanks to four returners from the top 30 last year. The Wolfpack will be paced by Jennifer Mohler and Abby Verchick, who are the highest finishing returners from the 2017 Regional in Spartanburg, SC, finishing 5th and 7th last year and hope to place top two this year. Carmen Davis (19th) and Sarah Hayden (38th) will help round out their top five but they will need a couple more to step up if they want to have a chance.
The battle for third is open and will be dependent upon the depth and unknown runners these schools have. Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Clemson each return one runner from the top 30 and one runner who finished top 40. Georgia is led by Alex Lacy (11th) and McKenzie Peterson (39th) but may not have enough depth to challenge. Georgia Tech has a little more depth, but is in a similar position as Georgia, and will need their returners, Melanie Bowden (12th) and Kristen Goldie (35th), to place top 15 to have a chance. Clemson are led by Grace Furman (23rd) and Helen Ballew (36th) but are only bringing five runners total, so there is no margin for error. Florida only have one top 30 returner, Sarah Cordier 13th, but have more depth than the others and hope to play spoiler on the day.
1st – North Carolina State
2nd – North Carolina
3rd – Florida
Southeast Regional Preview - Men (Wingate, NC)
There is no clear cut favorite on the men’s side since many teams are lacking in depth, but have a few returners which will make this one of the more interesting races this weekend. The top six individuals from last year are not returning and will add to the intrigue on Sunday.
Duke returns three individuals who were top 30 last year, Stone Mathers (15th), Ben Williams (18th), and Sam McDermott (28th). If they can find some additional support they have the best shot at winning after just missing out on the top three last year. Thomas Barlow, who finished 42nd last year and ran well at the Carolina Classic this year, finishing 24th, and Jack Ellwood, who finished 32nd at the Carolina Classic, are the most obvious names to help their quest.
Reigning Regional Champs, Clemson, are not going to give up their crown without a fight. Christian Acker, who finished 11th last year, claimed third at their home race, Tigertown Throwdown, and will be looking to continue running well and push for a top three finish individually. Freshman Conor McCabe has run well this year, finishing first in the Tigertown Throwdown, and is ready to help the Tigers. Brad Sanders, 41st last year, rounds out the top three for Clemson thanks to his fourth place finish at the Tigertown Throwdown.
North Carolina has the best chance at an individual winner but may struggle to finish higher than third. Lawton Ives, highest returner from last year, 7th, did not have the best race at the Carolina Classic finishing 23rd, but expect him to bounce back and lead the Tar Heels. Samuel Goldstein finished 10th last year but only 5 seconds behind Lawton and finished 1st at the Carolina Classic this year, so he may be the early favorite to finish first. The depth behind Lawton and Samuel is uncertain and will be something to keep watch for on Sunday afternoon.
Georgia and North Carolina State will look to join the part on the podium, but like the others mentioned, will need several runners to step up and have a good race. Georgia has only one top 30 returner, Tom Buff, who finished 9th last year and is primed to compete for first after having a good year to date with a second place finish at the Tigertown Throwdown. Freshman Daniel Hossack, 5th at the Tigertown Throwdown, hopes to support Tom and run will in his first Regional. North Carolina State has no top 30 returners but is led by returners Spencer Husen (37th) and Lance Bullerwell (40th). They have the most depth of any team racing and are looking to play the numbers game and overpower the field.
1st – Duke
2nd – Clemson
3rd – Georgia
North Carolina State
Special shout out to Auburn for competing in their first Southeast Regional, good luck!
Michael Potter, NIRCA