AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Augusta State men's cross country team upgraded its overall finish from last year, taking fifth at the NCAA Southeast Regional Saturday, at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, N.C.
Sending seven runners to the 10K, the ASU men were led by junior Jaiden Brandt who took fourth overall and qualified for the NCAA Championships on Saturday, Nov. 17 in Joplin, Mo. Brandt paced the Jags with a 31:57.7 finish, destroying his time from 2011's regional race where he took 39th overall.
Junior Dustin Ross finished second for the Jags and 17th overall. Ross also bettered his 2011 time, crossing the line this year in 32:39. Ross led the Jaguars to a seventh-place finish in last year's regionals where he finished first for ASU.
Josh Stockton, one of three Jaguar freshmen, finished in the top 25 as well, with a 23rd-place finish in 32:52.6. Preston Jones and Jordan Herbert took 49th and 61st in 33:46.1 and 34:11.2. Juniors Matt Johnson and Shane Huckeba rounded out the Jags for 64th and 68th in 34:15.4 and 34:21.2.
The men took fifth place with 153 team points, just behind Mars Hill. Peach Belt Conference rival Columbus State won the men's 10K with 63 points in front of Mount Olive. UNC Pembroke's Pardon Ndhlovu won the individual event in 31:19.2.
ASU sent two runners to the women's 6K event. Junior Alicia Connolly led the Lady Jags at last year's regional, and sophomore Jessica Carpenter was the only runner named all-conference in both 2011 and 2012. Carpenter paced ASU for the fifth time in six races, crossing the line in 23:54 for a 35th-place finish, three spots better than her 2011 finish. Connolly, who earned all-region honors last year, crossed 43rd overall in 24:12.2.
Brandt returns to action in two weeks at the NCAA Championships in Joplin, Mo.