Cross Country races well in final meet at NCAA South Regionals

The Mercer cross country teams traveled to Tallahassee, Fla. to conclude their 2012 season at the NCAA South Regional Championships. The men placed 12th and the women finished 24th at the Apalachee Regional Park course.
In the history of the Mercer men’s team, the 12th place finish out of the 26 teams was the best ever showing at the NCAA Regional meet.
Sophomore Lukas Steinheber placed 36th individually and was the Bears’ top runner with a time of 31:48.3. After a successful four-year career, senior Jacob Law completed the season with 39th place and a time of 31:54.1.
“Being able to continue running into college has been a blessing for me and due to that all I felt was content after finishing my last race,” said Law when asked about his cross country career.
“I have had a great four years [with] the team and have been lucky enough to get faster each year. I knew that as I started my last race that all I really had to do was leave it all on the course and the rest would work its self out,” he added.
These two extraordinary times helped set the program’s 10K team average to 32:47.4 with the help of Andrew Weems, Sony Prosper and Hunter Honeycutt as well. This is almost a full 40 seconds faster than the previous record of 33:26.98 at Alabama in 2010.
Steinheber’s and Law’s times also set the program’s top two times ever recorded at the 10K distance.
Weems, Prosper and Honeycutt all finished within 12 seconds of each other. Weems pulled in the third fastest time of the team with 33:20.0, finishing 111th overall. Prosper finished three seconds later with Honeycutt not too far behind.
The women’s team once again saw another fall record in this season’s last competition. Senior Katlyn Will displayed a time of 21:05.0 in the 6K distance, beating teammate Kacie Niemann’s record of 22:13.95 at the NCAA South Regional in 2010. Will finished in 39th place overall in the race leading the team to a 24th place finish in the 29-team field.
When Will reflects on her first and final season at Mercer University and her final race as a Bear she said, “It felt absolutely awesome to end the season on such a great personal record. I could not have asked God for a better ending to an awesome season. I had an absolute blast at this race,” said Will.
“I have never been so relaxed or enjoyed a race so much. I thought I was going to be upset when I got done, but I just felt so blessed by God to have such a great college career that I was happy and content,” she added.
The men’s team will be losing two seniors this year while the girls will be losing three. Jacob Law, Andrew Weems, Kacie Niemann, Kasey Knapper and Katlyn Will will all be graduating in the Spring of 2013. Niemann will go down as one of, if not the best, cross country runners in Mercer history.
She holds seven of the top times ever run by women’s runner in the Bears’ record book and is now a two-time All-Academic selection carrying a 3.97 overall GPA.
Niemann was also named an All-Conference selection based on her performance in the Conference championship.