The Tennessee men's and women's cross country teams finished in the top 10 Friday at the SEC Championships in Georgia.
With a top ten individual performance from Zach Long, finishing with a time of 24:06:20, the sophomore earned himself All-SEC honors. Wesley Robinson, who expected to finish inside the top 20 entering Friday's race, came up just inside that top 20 mark with a 19th place finish and a time of 24:30:70.
The rest of the men's team finished in the top 100 with five other runners that came in under the 50 spot. John Elrod was 25th with a time of 24:40.30, which gave the Vols their first three top-25 finishers since 2008.
Tennessee director of track and field and cross country Beth Alford-Sullivan was pleased with the men's squad's performance.
“We had a tremendous men's competition,” Alford-Sullivan said. “This team was definitely together, cool, calm, collected, ready to race and put it all out there.”
Freshman Alex Crigger placed 30th in 24:48.80 and sophomore Gashaw Duhamel took 42nd at 25:10.40.
Junior Andre Hillsman was 46th in 25:11.30, sophomore Brad Swiney was 50th in 25:15.90, freshman Conner Hawkins finished 76th in 25:48.20, junior Drew Kelley finished 96th in 26:32.60 and freshman Adam Johnston finished 97th in 26:33.30.
Both Elrod and Crigger earned SEC All-Freshman honors.
On the women's side, the squad finished No.10 with strong individual performances from Megan Murray and freshman Niamh Schumacher, landing No.21 and No. 22 finishes, respectively. Schumacher was sixth among freshmen and earned herself SEC All-Freshman honors.
Freshman Abigail Smith placed 47th, clocking 21:51.10. Junior Peighton Meske was 73rd with 22:24.80 and freshman Rachel Ware finished 82nd with a time of 22:35.00. Freshman Taylor Luthringer finished 98th, running across the finish line at 23:04.30.
Junior Cassidy Giles finished 118th with 24:01.10 and junior Emma Reed finished 127th, coming across with a time of 24:53.30.
"On the women's side, Megan Murray has been our number one all year and held onto that," Alford-Sullivan said. "She went out in an aggressive race. She was out really fast through the first mile at about 5:10 and got herself into a little bit of trouble, but held it together.
“Niamh Schumacher came on, worked through the entire race, got up on Megan's side and, just like they do every time in practice, they ran side by side, stride for stride ... Our women moved from last place last year into the top 10, which is what we wanted.”
Tennessee will have one week rest until its next event. The Vols will compete in the 2017 NCAA South Regional Championships on Nov. 10 at Harry Pritchett Running Course in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
"We are thrilled with our experience down here," Alford-Sullivan said. "We are going to get back and get recovered and get after it for the regional championship in two weeks at the University of Alabama. We are very proud of the Vols today."