Sept. 15, 2007
Nashville, Tenn. - In only her second collegiate race, Vanderbilt cross country runner Rita Jorgensen stole the show at the Commodore Classic. The freshman won the 5k race held at Warner Park in 18:07.00. Jorgensen, who hails from Memphis, finished ahead of the next closest runner by six seconds.
"When I realized I had a chance to get first in the Commodore Classic, I was ecstatic," exuded Jorgensen. "I felt very strong during the race."
Head coach Steve Keith was equally impressed with Jorgensen's accomplishment. "It was a solid effort by Rita. She calculated her place well. Within the first mile, I think she had her eyes set on the leaders. When she took the lead, she was in great position to win the race."
The Vanderbilt women sprinted to a third place finish in their home event. In all, Vanderbilt placed four runners in the top thirteen. Junior Carmen Mims finished fourth overall in a time of 18:22.37. Senior Julie Eckerly completed the race in 18:38.86, which was good for eleventh place. Freshman Adrienne DiRaddo ran the race in 18:41.76 and finished thirteenth.
As a team, Missouri won the 2007 Commodore Classic by only five points. In second place was Georgia Tech followed by the Commodores, only nine points behind the first-place Tigers.
On the men's side, senior Austin Williamson led the way for Vanderbilt, finishing seventh overall. The men's cross county team finished the day in fourth place.
"I felt good today in the first 8k of the season," said Williamson. "I hung with a lot of the guys I wanted to from other schools."
Individually, Henry Rop, a freshman from Union University, won the men's race in a time of 25:14.70. Four of the top six finishers were from Belmont. Belmont finished this year's Commodore Classic in first place. Georgia Tech and Missouri rounded out the top three.
The Vanderbilt cross country teams will be back in action September 29 when the men's team will travel to Louisville for the Louisville Invitational. The women's team will split squads and run in both Louisville, at the Louisville Invitational, and Williamsburg, Va., at William & Mary.