Nov. 2, 2012
NASHVILLE — Following her First Team All-SEC performance at the SEC Championships, Vanderbilt redshirt freshman Hannah Jumper (Chattanooga, Tenn.) has been named the Southeastern Conference Women’s Cross Country Freshman of the Year.
Jumper was the top freshman at the SEC Championships, finishing seventh overall with a time of 20:41 for 6K. She earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team and topped the next-best freshman finisher by over 12 seconds.
Her seventh place finish keyed Vanderbilt to a third place finish as a team. The Commodores have now finished in the top three at the league championships each of the last three seasons.
“When you recruit someone, you recruit someone you’d like to see on your team,” Vanderbilt Head Coach Steve Keith said. “It’s a tribute to everything you want to impress on your team, as far as being consistent and staying healthy.”
With the development other runners have shown after years with the program, Keith is excited about what the future holds for Jumper.
“We want to recruit good kids, but we also want to see them develop,” Keith explained. “All these kids are developing nicely and it’s nice to see all these kids really develop. All three (Jumper, Kristen Findley and Liz Anderson) all can be top 10 and have a shot to make NCAAs individually should the team miss qualifying.”
Jumper’s rookie cross country campaign (she redshirted 2011 due to a combination of injury and illness) stared with an individual title at the Belmont Opener (14:09 for 4K).
Since then, she has since been one of Vanderbilt’s most consistent runners, finishing as one of the top four Commodores in every race this season.
Jumper’s top performance came against one of the deepest fields of the season at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, when she placed 59th with a 6K time of 20:33.
Excelling against the best has been a trend, as she also placed 25th at the Greater Louisville Classic (NCAA Championships preview meet), running the 5K in 17:16.
Jumper and the Commodores will run next at the NCAA South Regional in Tallahassee, Fla., on Friday, November 9. Vanderbilt will hope to either secure an automatic bid with a top-two finish at the Regional, or do enough to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships in Louisville on Saturday, November 17.