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Georgia runner Jessica Drop leads the pack during the 1500 meter run at the Spec Towns Track Invitational on Friday, April 5, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. Friday is the first of a two-day invitational meet hosted by UGA that welcomes track and field teams from all over the country. (Photo/Gabriella Audi, www.gabbyaudi10.wixsite.com/mysite-1)

Georgia cross country team runners Samantha and Jessica Drop both qualified for the NCAA Championships thanks to their placements at the NCAA South Regional in Tallahassee, Florida. This marks the third time Jessica Drop has qualified for Nationals and the second time for Samantha Drop.

The Lady Bulldogs finished seventh in the 6k race with 178 points.

Jessica Drop finished third and Samantha Drop followed shortly behind in fifth place. The twin sisters gave the SEC four of the top five individual finishers and will travel to Terre Haute, Indiana, on Nov. 23 to compete in the championships.

“They finished up with the elite in our region showing what kind of talent they have,” distance coach Patrick Cunniff said. “I think they are headed to Nationals with a lot of confidence and will represent Georgia in a great way.”

Sophomore Nicole Pachuta was the third Georgia runner to finish the race, coming in 55th place. Freshman Ellie Hall followed one spot behind Pachuta and Anna Marian Block came in 62nd place.

“I thought our other scorers — Nicole Pachuta, Ellie Hall and Anna Marian Block — and our team in general ran their hearts out,” Cunniff said.

The men’s team came in 13th in its first 10k race of the season. Nicholas Yanek was the first runner for Georgia to cross the finish line in 26th place. 

“They came on very tough in the second half of the race and fought for every place we got.” Cunniff said, “Just like he has done all year, Nicholas Yanek was our leader and fought hard to get close to that top 25, missing on All-Region by one spot.”

Junior Nate Reichard was the second to finish at 72nd. He was followed by junior Davis Stockwell in 83rd place and junior Jack Bradley in 92nd place.

“They all had strong races and gave everything they had to help our team finish,” Cunniff said. “Hopefully we can keep building with our younger runners on both teams.”

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