Prosper, Niemann lead runners to 18th, 21st place

The men’s and women’s cross country teams saw their last action of the season on Saturday, Nov. 12 at the 2011 NCAA South Regionals Meet in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Both men and women’s teams wanted to end the season on a high note.
In the men’s race, sophomore phenomenon Sony Prosper led the men’s team once again pacing the Bears. Prosper has led the Bears across the finish line in every race this season, proving to be a dominant force on every course he has stepped on. Crossing the finish line in a time of 32:42.50, Prosper was able to finish 44th overall in a race that featured 159 runners. Junior Chris Svidesskis was 69th overall as Mercer’s second finisher with a time of 33:20.70. Juniors Andrew Weems and Jacob Law were Mercer’s third and fourth finishers, crossing the finish line almost simultaneously. Weems finished with a time of 33:46.70, while Law crossed at 33:51.60, putting them at 96th and 97th respectively. Senior Marc Kushinka finished out his final race in a Mercer uniform as Mercer’s fifth and final scoring runner with a time of 34:14.90 which was good for a 111th place finish. The Bears placed 18th out of the 24 racing teams.
In the women’s race, it was no surprise that Kacie Niemann would put in yet another stellar performance for the Bears. Pacing the Bears with a time of 22:42.70, Niemann was able to accomplish the second fastest 6k time in school history which is second only to her record that she set last year at the very same meet. This finish was good for an 84th finish in a meet that featured 191 runners. Coming in second for the Bears was sophomore Lena Hamvas, who finished with a time of 23:01 .80, which was good for a 101st place finish. Sophomore Samantha Woller and senior Christina Kivi finished back-to-back in 136th and 137th place, respectively. Woller finished with a time of 23:47.00, while Kivi finalized her Mercer University career with a time of 23:48.80. The Bears final scoring runner was freshman Iliana Garcia who finished with a time of 25:39.30, good for 180th place. The Bears finished 21st out of the 27 competing teams.
Niemann had a positive outlook on the women’s season and where they will be headed come next year. “Even though we lost one of our key runners from last season, we were still able to have a strong season overall. Conference didn’t go as well as we hoped and regionals was on a very tough course, but nearly everyone set a personal record this season so everyone improved to make up for the loss of our number two runner. We are going to lose two more of our scoring runners for next season, but I think those that will be staying are motivated to use the track season to jumpstart into training hard for next year and to come back even stronger than ever,” Niemann said.
The men and women’s teams say goodbye to five seniors. Christina Kivi, Geremy Skeen, Marc Kushinka, Andrew Jones, and Daniel Larson will all hang up their Mercer uniforms and move towards whatever obstacles come next in life.