COLUMBIA, S.C. (Oct. 27, 2023) – For the first time since 2012, South Carolina Cross Country recorded its first Top-10 finish at the SEC Cross Country Championship. Carolina finished eighth overall on Friday morning at Charwood Golf Club in Columbia, S.C. In addition to posting the first Top-10 finish in 11 years, the Gamecocks’ eighth-place finish was the best team result since posting seventh in 2001.
The Gamecocks were led by Silan Ayyildiz who made her Carolina Cross Country debut on Friday morning. The Turkey native crossed the line in a time of 19:56.2 for the second fastest 6K race in program history. Ayyildiz finished seventh overall, to earn seven points for the Gamecocks and land a spot on the First Team All-SEC squad. Ayyildiz’s seventh-place finish is just the fourth Top-10 individual finish at the SEC Championship in Gamecock history and is the highest individual finish since Jenny Lake posted seventh at the 2003 SEC Championship in Athens, Ga. Only Sue McGhie (6th) had a higher individual finish, doing so at the 1993 SEC Championship.
Ayyildiz was followed by teammate Judy Kosgei who finished 11th overall, just missing out on the Gamecocks’ first Top-10 duo at the SEC Championship. The Kenya freshman ran in a time of 20:03.6 to snatch a critical 11 points and earned a spot on the Second Team All-SEC squad. Ayyildiz and Kosgei each landed on the SEC All-Freshman Team. The Gamecock duo mark the first pair of runners since 1999 to land on the All-SEC team in the same race and just the second duo ever in program history to do so.
Hope Dominique, Anna Boyd and Lily Weeks rounded out the top five scorers for the Gamecocks. Dominique clocked a time of 22:04.2 to finish 88th and earn 77 points for the Garnet & Black. Meanwhile, Boyd (22:14.7) finished 92nd for 81 points and Weeks (22:19.9) ended up 97th on the individual leaderboard with 86 points for the Gamecocks.
Parker Valby of Florida won the individual women’s race with Florida taking the team title. Arkansas and Tennessee rounded out the top three squads on the women’s side.
Victor Kiprop of Alabama won the men’s individual 8K, with Arkansas taking the team title followed by Alabama and Tennessee.
The Gamecocks will return to action on Friday, Nov. 10 when South Carolina travels to the NCAA Southeast Regional. This year’s regional will be held in the Palmetto State in Spartanburg, S.C., a course that Carolina has already ran twice this fall.
1. Florida – 49…