The USA South Athletic Conference has announced that LaGrange College sophomore Sarah Bearden is the 2015 Women's Cross Country Runner of the Year. She is the first LaGrange cross country runner to receive the USA South award.
"It has been a strong season for Sarah so far. She started with a desire to work hard and do well." said Coach Joe Strickland. "It is great to see all the work she has put in the season get noticed by the other teams in the USA South and earn her this recognition."
Bearden's best performance of the season came at the season-ending 6,000 meter Berry Invitational where she placed 14th out of 179 runners in a time of 23:04. The time was the best 6,000-meter result in the conference this fall. At the Panther Invitational, Bearden placed first out of 16 competitors and she was third at the West Georgia Inivitational. Bearden also received USA South Runner of the Week honors twice this year.
Mary Baldwin College's Kali Carr collected Rookie of the Year accolades while Covenant College's Katie Stanford was named Coach of the Year. Also, the USA South recognized an All-Sportsmanship Team, consisting of one member from each competing school. Junior Jessica Morton represented the Panthers on the All-Sportsmanship team. All honors were determined by votes from the cross country coach at each institution.
The remainder of the All-Conference teams will be decided at the upcoming USA South Championships. First team all-conference will consist of the top-seven finishers, the next seven finishers will be named second team all-conference while the following six finishers will earn honorable mention all-conference accolades. The Conference Championship Meet will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 at Hagan Stone Park in Greensboro, N.C. The women will run first at 11 a.m., followed by the men at 12 p.m.