August 20, 2013

UNG Women's Cross Country Adds Class Of Nine New Runners

DAHLONEGA, Georgia – (UNGAthletics.com) - The University of North Georgia women's cross country head coach Tom Williams has announced the addition of nine student-athletes to the program for fall 2013.

The Nighthawks added true freshman Caitlin Connell, Taylor Long, Mollie Shaw, Ellie Tanner, Jessica Ursprung, and Ashlee Varnson. The additions also include three runners that are transfers: Brianna Moring (Erskine), Alyssa Sale (Brenau) and Maggie Tindol (University of Georgia).

Connell is a graduate of Winder-Barrow High School where she ran for Coach Michael Lofton.  Connell earned three letters in track and four letters in cross country running for the Bulldogs.  Last fall, she placed fifth at the AAAAA State Cross Country Championships meet in a time of 20:18.94 as Winder Barrow finished sixth in the team standings.  In the spring of 2013 she placed ninth in the 1600m at the State Track and Field Championship meet with a time of 5:17.62 and 6th in the 3200m with a time of 11:36.90.

"Connell is arriving at UNG at a great time," said Williams.  "She had a great senior season and I believe she can step right in and make an impact."

Long is a graduate of West Hall High School where she ran for Coach Shannon Reed.  Long earned four letters in track and four letters in cross country running for the Spartans.  Last fall, she placed 33rd at the AAA State Cross Country Championship meet with a time of 22:06 as West Hall finished ninth in the team standings.  Long's personal best time in the 3200m is 11:45.92 and 5:40.05 in the 1600m.

"I am very excited to have Taylor continuing her career at UNG."  I believe she has a huge upside and I am looking forward to watch her develop as a college runner," said Williams.

Shaw is a graduate of Pickens County High School where she ran for Coaches Debbie Roper and Robin Dunn.  Shaw earned four letters in track and four letters in cross country for the Dragons.  Last fall, she placed 58th at AAAA State Cross Country Championship meet with a time of 22:58.77 as Pickens finished fifth in the team standings.  In the spring, she finished fourth at the Region meet in the 3200m qualifying for Sectionals in 12:32.32

"Shaw is an outstanding student-athlete and we are pleased she has chosen to continue her academic and athletic career at UNG," said Williams.

Tanner is a graduate of Flowery Branch High School where she ran for Coach Jimmy Sorrells.  Tanner earned four letters in Track and two letters in cross country running for the Falcons.  Last fall, she placed 15th at the AAAA State Cross Country Championship meet with a time of 20:51.79 as Flowery Branch finished on the podium at third in the team standings.  This spring, she finished 14th in the 800m at the Sectional meet in 2:31.29.

"Tanner brings a wealth of talent to the program.  She has had the experience of being on the podium at the State Cross Country Championship meet," said  Williams.

Ursprung is a graduate of North Gwinnett High School where she ran for Coach John Rowland.  Ursprung earned five letters in track, three letters in swim and dive, and one letter in cross country for the Bulldogs.  Her personal best for 5k is 21:50, 3200m 13:12.77, and 5:59.97 for the 1600m.

"Ursprung comes from a strong AAAAAA program and I am looking forward to working with her in the fall," said Williams.

Varnson is a graduate of Mill Creek High School, where she ran for Coach Terry Brand.  Varnson earned one letter in Track and four Letters in cross country running for the Hawks.  Last fall, she placed 106th at the AAAAAA State Cross Country Championship meet with a time of 22:38.26 as Mill Creek finished fifth in the team standings.  Varnson's personal best time in the 3200m is 12:51.27 and 5:36.96 in the 1600m.

"Varnson will be another AAAAAA lady that will bring excellent experience to the team," said Williams.

Moring comes to UNG after one season at Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina.  She finished 98th at the NCAA Division II Regional Championship meet in 25:44.50 for 6K.  She is a product of North Gwinnett High School.  Moring lettered three times in cross country, twice in track and once in lacrosse for the Bulldogs.

"Moring will bring a year of college running experience to UNG, she should be a valuable addition to the program," said Williams.

Sale comes to UNG after one year of competing at Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga.  She finished 20th at the Southern States Athletic Conference Championship meet in 20:36.78 for 5K.  Sale is a product of South Forsyth High School where she ran under the direction of Coaches Jerry Edmondson and Van Munn.  She lettered three times in cross country and four times in track at SFHS.

"Sale will also bring experience to the team.  I am also very pleased to have the opportunity to work with her this coming fall," said Williams.

Tindol comes to UNG form University of Georgia in Athens, Ga..  Tindol walked on at UGA and did not get an opportunity to compete.  She is a product of North Gwinnet High School, where she ran under the direction of Coach Mark Karen.  She earned four letters in Cross Country.

"Tindol will also bring collegiate experience to UNG.  She has been training on her own and is at a very high level of fitness.  I am excited to work with her this fall," said Williams.

The team is set to open the 2013 season on September 7 at the 3rd Annual Georgia Southwestern Remembrance Run in Americus.