Joyce Kimeli Claims Third at SEC Cross Country Championships


Racing in temperatures hovering in the low 30s, Auburn junior Joyce Kimeli ran an outstanding race en route to a third-place finish at the 2019 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., Friday.

A native of Eldoret, Kenya, Kimeli led for the first half of the race and stayed within contention until the final 1,000 meters before crossing the 6k course in 19:51.3. It was the best finish by an Auburn woman at the SEC Championships since 2010 when Holly Knight finished second.

“Overall, a tremendous effort. We had several people with big days,” Auburn cross country coach David Barnett said. “Joyce ran a tremendous race and she continues to improve. I was very pleased with how she competed against very, very tough competition.

Auburn women’s second thru fifth scorers were bunched tightly, finishing 13 places apart. Sophomore Faith Bett crossed in 21:35.9 for 57th place, while fellow sophomore Hannah Tarwater (21:37.4) was two places behind Bett.

Junior Mercy Kiprop (21:39.5), Auburn’s only upperclassman racing, took home 61st place while sophomore Abbey Zane (21:54.7) rounded out the scoring finishing 70th.

“The effort was it where it needed to be for both our teams,” Barnett said. “The team finishes were very tight and they didn’t shake out the way we were hoping for, but I think we had a lot of people step up and have very solid performances. The women’s team is very young and the men’s team doesn’t have the depth to allow for anyone to have a bad day.”

Sophomore Silas Kipngetich led the men’s efforts, finishing in 36th place, crossing the 8k race in 24:06.2, while senior Andy Smith was close behind crossing in 40th place (24:08.0) for his best outing of his career.

“Andy Smith stepped up and had a phenomenal day,” Barnett said. “He’s a senior and had the best finish he’s had in his career at Auburn. I’m very happy for him.”

Juniors Tommy McDonough (24:31.6) and Jack Rogers (24:55.0) were 53rd and 77th, respectively, while freshman Hunter Harwell (25:14.6) rounded out Auburn’s scoring in 88th.

“On both sides I think we’ve yet to see our best team race and I think at regionals in two weeks will be a big step in the right direction for both programs.

The Auburn women finished 10th, while the Tiger men were 12th in the team race.

Next up for the Tigers will be the NCAA South Regional in Tallahassee, Fla., on Nov. 15.


Nov. 1, 2019
Kentucky Horse Park
Lexington, KY

1.     Arkansas                               21
2.     Ole Miss                                 93
3.     Missouri                              159
4.     Tennessee                          170
5.     Alabama                              171

10.    Auburn                              229

3.    Joyce Kimeli                                19:51.3
57.    Faith Bett                                 21:35.9
59.    Hannah Tarwater                            21:37.4
61.    Mercy Kiprop                               21:39.5
70.    Abbey Zane                                 21:54.7
86.    Hannah Dyal                                22:13.0
119.   GiGi Maddox                               23:02.2

127.   Louisa McPherson                          23:32.3
137.   Sara Pacer                                24:20.0

1.     Ole Miss                            35
2.     Alabama                             90
3.     Arkansas                            121
4.     Kentucky                            124
5.     Texas A&M                        141

12.    Auburn                              269

36.    Silas Kipngetich                          24:06.2
40.    Andy Smith                                 24:08.0
53.    Tommy McDonough                      24:31.6
77.    Jack Rogers                                24:55.0
88.    Hunter Harwell                             25:14.6

96.    Evan Rogers                                25:33.0
107.   Ryan Lee                                   26:20.9

Categories: Alabama Sports