Friday, July 26, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Men's #28- Georgia








Editor's note: For the next month, The Wood Report will be counting down projected team finishes in this year's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, IN.

#28
Georgia
Head Coach: Patrick Cunniff (2nd Season)
2012 National Finish- 19th



Key Returners from 2012
  • Brandon Lord (Sr., 14:03, 29:12)
  • Lucas Baker (Sr., 14:31, 30:00)

Impact Recruits/Transfers
  • Brad Hort (Fr., 9:18 3200m, Foot Locker Finalist)
  • Henry Dwyer (Fr., 4:10 1600m)

Season Preview

One of the most up and coming programs in the country  is the #28 University of Georgia Men's Cross Country team. After surprising many in 2012 with their national championship bid and a 19th overall finish, the Bulldogs are ready to prove they are not a one hit wonder in 2013. 

The leader of the Bulldog pack is returning no. 1 runner Brandon Lord. Lord had a great South Regional run finishing third individually and was the no. 2 man at Nats where he finished 107th overall. Without having a track season in 2013, Lord should be fit and ready to be this team's go to guy. 

Speaking of no track seasons, all of the key top returners from cross country in 2012 had little to no participation in outdoor in '13 and should be looked upon to return healthy and fit for the upcoming season. Luke Baker and Charlie Sparks are both capable cross country runners that proved to be solid racers when it mattered at both the regional and national level. 

The good news is that while Georgia's top XC 'Dawgs were redshirting/were hurt during the track season, other athletes stepped up and ran well in their place. Freshman Zack Sims and Sid Vaughn both will be counted on to continually progress and improve to strengthen the 1-5 for the Bulldogs. Both ran mid 14s for 5000m in the Spring. 

It will be interesting to see how their recruiting class will be able to impact the Bulldog pack up front. Brad Hort was a Footlocker Finalist in 2012 and ran respectable times on the track. Henry Dwyer was not nearly as good in XC as he is on the track where he brought his PR down to 4:10 for 1600m in 2013. If either of these young guns can provide a spark to the top five, Georgia will be all the better for it. 

In a region that is steadily improving, the South should be looking at getting three to the Big Dance this year with Florida, Florida State, and these Georgia Bulldogs. 

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