Niemann Takes War Eagle Invite 5K
AUBURN, Ala. – The Mercer men's and women's cross country teams wrapped up their respective spring seasons this past weekend at the War Eagle Invitational at Auburn University.
The Bears competed in a several distance events at the track and field meet on Friday and Saturday. Mercer wrapped a spring season that saw a number of harriers run impressive times. Junior Kacie Niemann is one of those runners and this past weekend was able to set another personal best in the 5K.
After making the cut for the invitational 5K on Friday, Niemann trained her sights on Saturday's race as the first Mercer runner to ever receive an invite.
Kacie started Saturday's race at the back of the pack and systematically worked her way up throughout. By the time she reached the beginning of the third mile she was in second place, but still nearly 100 meters behind Tori Lawson of South Alabama.
"Kacie's training has been going very well all season. She has learned to be patient during races – a trait she used to lack," head coach Ryan Bailey said.
With 400 meters (1/4 mile, or 1 lap) left, Kacie had reduced Lawson's lead to about 50 meters or so. Niemann's closing style allowed her catch Lawson finishing her final lap in 1:10.19 – which is slightly more than 12 seconds faster than her average lap time (1:22.25). With around 100 meters to go, Niemann picked up the pace to win by 1.8 seconds.
Niemann is undefeated this spring at the 5K distance
"She is fearless," Bailey said. "She doesn't get rattled and is able to absorb a lot more pain than most people. Kacie has learned how to "stalk the field" and knows when to make a move. She has become confident enough to use her superior leg-speed at the end of a race and her kick is absolutely devastating."
Mercer 5K (Track) Record going into the 2012 Spring Season = 18:16.15 Deborah Jones
Kacie's 2012 performances:
Savannah State - 1st place, 17:48.72
Georgia Tech - 1st place, 17:23.92
University of GA – 1st place, 17:22.53
Auburn University – 1st place, 17:08.12 (1:08.03 faster than Deb Jones' 2006 record run)
Kacie's only other race this year was a 1500m race at Emory – 2nd place 4:35.69 (former Mercer school record for 1500m = 4:41.38 Linda Batna
Mercer Women's Records, Track & Field – top 5 All-Time
- 2012 Kacie Niemann – 17:08.12
- 2012 Kacie Niemann – 17:22.53 UGA
- 2012 Kacie Niemann – 17:23.92 Georgia Tech
- 2012 Kacie Niemann – 17:48.72 Savannah State
- 2006 Deborah Jones – 18:16.15 Auburn
Women 5000 Meter Run INVITATIONAL
|2||Lawson, Tori||So||S. Alabama||17:09.89|
|5||Stefanoff, Hannah||So||Georgia St.||17:40.59|
|6||McGuff, Jodie||Fr||Miss. St.||17:40.86|
|11||Houle, Kacee||SR||Georgia St.||18:12.64|
On the men's side, Sony Prosper had another great race in the Open 5K. He worked along with the lead group for a little more than two miles before taking the lead. He held the lead for the final laps and was nearly able to fight off an attack by Steven Spevacek (unattached).
"Sony has really come on strong this year. He ran a gutsy race on Saturday and got a significant personal best time out of the effort. He ran :17 seconds faster than his previous best"
Sony's time of 15:11.80 is the 2nd fastest 5K on Mercer's All-Time list. Jacob Law holds the current school record at 15:08.56 (set at Auburn, 2011). Jacob followed Sony, finishing in 4th place.
"Freshman Jeff Law (brother to Jacob) came up big on Saturday as well. He surpassed his personal best by :19 seconds and finished with the third fastest time for the squad. He has really developed quickly and I think we will see some super things from him in the next few years."
"The team ran really well overall. We still have room for improvement but, all told, I think we are looking pretty good right now. With the recruiting class I have coming in for the 2012 cross country season, I think we are looking at our best year yet."
Men 5000 Meter Run
Name Yr School Seed Finals