Cross Country

The Georgia's men's cross country team competes during the 2017 Bulldog SEC Preview at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Ga. on Saturday, Sep. 9, 2017. (Photo by Caitlyn Tam)

Georgia’s cross country teams both finished in second place on Saturday at the Bulldog Invitational meet at the UGA Golf Course in Athens. Georgia Tech won both the men and women’s division of the meet, but Georgia junior Jessica Drop won first place overall on the women’s side.

Drop’s win Saturday made it her third time in a row winning Georgia’s home meet as she ran to a 20:06.3 victory. The 2017 All-American finished 21 seconds before the next runner.

“Today was just a rust buster because we didn’t want our first meet to be the Paul Short Run where there’s definitely a big competition,” Drop said. “Today we were going out and having fun, seeing what our fitness is and seeing what we needed to work on for the next three weeks.”

Grace Tavani was the second Bulldog across the finish line, coming in at third place overall with a 20:42.9. Behind her was senior Hailey Branch who finished in 10th place with a 21:22.6. Skylar English, a true freshman, was the fourth scorer for the Bulldogs with an 11th place finish at 21:33.8. Ansley Heavern rounded out the scoring for the Bulldogs with a 14th place finish and a time of 21:36.2.

One thing to note for the women’s team is that senior Samantha Drop was held out of the meet for rest. Samantha, the twin sister of Jessica, is a 2017 All-American.

Georgia’s men’s team finished 30 points behind Georgia Tech, but the young team had a good showing for the home meet.

Michael Hans, a redshirt sophomore, came across the line first for the Bulldogs with a fourth place finish and a time of 24:29.0.

“Waking up in your own bed, it’s a feeling like no other,” Hans said. “I made myself breakfast. There’s no real sense of urgency. I just love running at home. This course is brutal, but getting out here, having a home crowd and just racing on our own turf, I love it.”

Jack Bradley, another redshirt sophomore, finished 15th and posted a time of 25:07.1. Jonathan Pelham ran a 25:07.6 and finished 16th. This meet was Pelham’s first time scoring. Darr Smith ran a 25:31.7 to finish 19th, and Tyler Jones finished the scoring for the Bulldogs in 21st place with a 25:38.1.

“I thought it was a good meet for us,” coach Patrick Cunniff said. “I think it was nice to get pretty much our full lineup running either in uniform or unattached. This is an experience that will really help kind of launch us into our bigger invitational racing season. I think it was very productive.”

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