by Nicole Fredette, BerryVikings.com
CLINTON, Miss. -- The Southern Athletic Association staged the 2012 Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships on the Choctaw Trails on Saturday morning and Berry placed fourth of the eight teams. COMPLETE RESULTS
Junior Charlotte Collins of Berry ran the 6K in 23:27.28 and was seventh overall. Collins earned second team SAA honors with her top-10 finish.
All-Conference winners were established in the process with the runners finishing 11th-15th claiming Honorable Mention status, runners finishing 6th through 10th earning Second Team honors and runners coming home 1st through 5th capturing First Team awards.
The Centre College women claimed the conference title. Colonel Hannah Ellis was first across the line with a time of 22:06.32.
As they laced up their spikes and headed to the starting line, nerves ran through their skin. Coach Paul Deaton had said before the race, "we want to ride back on the bus talking about what we did, not what we didn't do."
Berry runners ended with numerous personal records and season bests.
Collins sprinted from the start and ran with the front pack of runners for the entire race. She "wanted to get top 14" and knew she had to stay with that pack in order to do so. Collins finished 7th overall in the SAA Championship, and dropped over a minute from her previous 6K personal record. She clocked in at 23:27.
"I left it all on the course today," Collins said. "I pushed so hard until the finish."
Dorris also ran a personal record with a time of 24:03. She placed 18th overall in the meet. Senior and team captain Lauren Nation raced a 24:29 6K. She finished 25th in the race and ran a personal record.
Fredette finished fourth for the lady Vikings with a time of 25:46. Freshman Stephanie Mimbs posted a time of 26:07, dropping over a minute and a half from her last 6K. Abuhamdieh raced a 26:16. All of these Berry runners ran 6K personal records.
"I'm proud of everyone and happy that most everyone felt strong about this race and got PRs (personal records)!" Abuhamdieh said.
Junior Allison Preg ran her fastest race this whole season, finishing with a time of 26:34. Sophomore Leslie Stewart ran a PR 6K time of 26:35. Junior Katy Jordan clocked in at 26:53 and achieved a personal record 6K time. Sophomore Kayla Heflin dropped more than 2 minutes off her previous personal record, running a 27:31 6K.
"We had been working up to this race, and it all came together today," Heflin said. "I focused on effort – more than time – during the race and just kept picking girls off. And the hype of the race really kept us pushing each other as a team towards our goals."
Ten runners from the women's cross country team ran personal records at the SAA Championships.
"It is difficult to pick one thing that led to so many great races," said Berry Head Coach Paul Deaton. "But it was definitely a complete team-–and individual-–effort today."