Jumper leaps into spot among SEC elite at conference championship

Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 10:40pm

Hannah Jumper predicted this finish months ago. But she didn’t say it out loud.

Coming off a frustrating track season and missing all of last cross country season to a stress fracture, Jumper felt her best running was in front of her. But the Vanderbilt redshirt-freshman didn’t want to make a bold prediction.

“I came off of track season just angry,” Jumper said. “I didn’t have the season I wanted. I wrote down at the beginning of the summer that I wanted to be All-SEC. It was one of those things that I know I can do it. But I was in no place to say I wanted to be All-SEC.”

Now she can.

Jumper paced the Commodores at the SEC Championships on Friday at Percy Warner Park with a seventh-place finish and earned All-SEC first-team honors. She was also named to the All-Freshman team as the defending conference champs finish third.

Jumper had the best finish by a freshman, covering the 6K course in 20:41. Senior Kristen Findley finished two seconds behind in eighth place and earned All-SEC second team honors. Junior Liz Anderson just missed all-conference accolades with a 15th place finish.

The Vanderbilt men finished 12th out of 13 teams.

Running on her home course for the third time this season, Jumper built on her recent success. The Chattanooga native began the season by winning the 4K Belmont Opener at Percy Warner. She claimed seventh at the Commodore Classic. She also placed in the top 60 in larger meets in Louisville and Wisconsin.

Heading into the NCAA South Central Regional, Jumper gives the Commodores a valuable third runner who has filled in for the sick Kristen Smith and can trade spots with Anderson and Findley.

“She had a healthy summer and she stayed consistent,” coach Steve Keith said. “She and Kristen Findley are two examples of kids who weren’t on our team scoring last year that are now jumped up and actually leading the team. That kind of development makes a coach happy to see that progress.

“She handled the intensity and the emotion of the conference meet in a really professional way.”