Lady Tornado run to No. 2 in NCAA Southeast Region

NEW ORLEANS, La. - King College was the highest riser in this week's United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division II Southeast Region women's ranking, the organization announced Tuesday. The Lady Tornado squad went from No. 6 all the way to No. 2 in the region.

King was among a six-team shuffle at the top of the region ranking following an impressive fifth-place performance at the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic Saturday.

The Lady Tornado went into the event ranked No. 6 in last week's ranking and was able to beat Augusta State (Ga.) University and Anderson (S.C.) University Saturday, who was ranked No. 5 and No. 4, respectively in the ranking. Augusta State crossed the finish line as a team in 16th while Anderson was 22nd in a field of 34 teams.

King runners posted an average of 19 minutes and 16 seconds which was faster than Columbus State (Ga.) University who was No. 1 in last week's ranking.

The only team ahead of King was Queens (N.C.) College who moved up from No. 2. Columbus State slipped to No. 3 after having the No. 1 spot with Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) College and Anderson moving down a position each to No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

Augusta State started the next five with Mount Olive (N.C.) College holding No. 7, the only team to remain in place from last week's ranking. Georgia College and State University and Carson-Newman (Tenn.) College both climbed a spot to No. 8 and No. 9 while Converse (S.C.) College entered at No. 10. Lees-McRae, No. 8 a week ago, fell out of the Top-10.

Once again Conference Carolinas, the Peach Belt and South Atlantic Conferences all had three squads on the list each. Converse replaced Lees-McRae to join Queens and Mount Olive from Conference Carolinas. The Peach Belt's Columbus State, Augusta State and Georgia College and State were among the Top-10. Lenoir-Rhyne, Anderson and Carson-Newman represented the South Atlantic. King was the only independent team among all eight regions.

All five of the Lady Tornado runners broke the 20-minute mark Saturday including a school-record run from Carrie Nelson (Independence, Va.) at 18:36.27, 23 seconds faster than her old program record. King had three personal bests from upperclassmen at the event by a combined 95 seconds while two freshmen raced to No. 6 and No. 7 on King's All-Time Top-10 list.

Among the eight regions, King jumped four spots as did Ashland (Ohio) University from No. 8 to No. 4 in the Midwest Region and Western Oregon in the West Region to No. 6 after a No. 10 ranking last week. The three teams were the biggest movers in the region rankings. Queens was the only new No. 1 team in any region as the Southeast was the most active region this week.

Next for the Lady Tornado squad will be the Royal Cross Country Challenge in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 15. The race will be on the same course as the NCAA Division II Southeast Region scheduled for Nov. 20. The top two teams at the NCAA Division II Southeast Region will earn automatic bids for the 2010 NCAA Division II National Championship.

The next regional ranking will be released on Tuesday, Oct. 12.

To view all regional rankings, click here.