LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Vanderbilt women’s cross country team raced to a sixth place finish on cold and windy morning at the Greater Louisville Classic Saturday. The VU women placed sixth in the 35-team gold race while the men finished the 8000-meter race 30th out of 38 teams.
“The women scored better and ran a faster team average than they did last year at this meet which was a nice sign of progress, however as a team we thought we could have been a few places higher,” Head Coach Steve Keith said. “This was a very competitive meet with seven or eight balanced teams. This type of race will definitely help us as we approach the pre-nationals and SEC meets later this month.”
In the women’s 5K race the Commodores were once again led by Kristabel Doebel-Hickok, as she clocked a 17:55.46, good for 17th place out of a field of nearly 300 runners. The top-20 finish marked the third one of the season for the California native.
Sophomore Louise Hannallah was the second ‘Dore to cross the finish line Saturday, clocking an 18:16.96, good for 32nd place while teammate Jordan White finished five spots and five seconds back of Hannallah with an 18:21.03. Hannallah’s time Saturday was nearly 30 seconds faster than what she recorded at the same meet a year ago.
“I thought Kristabel ran well at the front and Louise, Jordan and Allie competed very well,” Keith said.
Freshman standout Allie Scalf was the fourth Vanderbilt runner to cross the finish line Saturday as she clocked an 18:26.33, good for 44th place. Scalf’s time was 21 seconds faster than her 5K performance two weeks ago at the Commodore Classic in Nashville.
Adrienne DiRaddo and Alexa Rogers were the fifth and sixth Commodore runners to finish as they clocked times of 18:37.13 and 18:51.23, respectively. Both DiRaddo and Rogers recorded season best marks in the 5K Saturday as DiRaddo trimmed 11 seconds off the time she recorded at the Commodore Classic while Rogers 18:51.23 was 29 seconds faster than her time two weeks ago in Nashville.
Sophomore Erin McManus notched a personal record Saturday by clocking a 19:09.32. McManus’ mark was five seconds faster than her previous personal best, in which she set at the same course and same meet a season ago. On the men’s side the Commodores were once again paced by sophomore standout Jenner Kizer, who placed in the top 25 percent competitors. Kizer clocked a 25:36.60, good for 77th place out of 334 runners while Thomas Davis recorded a time of 26:15.46. Kizer’s time was nearly two minutes faster than his race at the Commodore Classic while Davis trimmed nearly 70 seconds off his previous performance.
“I thought Jenner had an excellent race and he was faster than last year, Keith said. “Billy Malmed and Chris Baker, had good races as well but unfortunately the men were too spread out to be effective today.”
“We have to do a better job of getting out in a better position through the first 600-800 meters,” Keith said. “When running in a large field like today, we left ourselves more work than necessary.”
Purdue took home the women’s title as they were the only team to have four runners place in the top 25. Kentucky, Louisville, Missouri and Western Kentucky rounded out the top five. The Vanderbilt women finished five spots ahead of its Southeastern Conference foe, Mississippi State.
The Louisville men captured the team title with 68 total points, while Kentucky (153) and Tennessee (188) rounded out the top three.
The Commodore cross country teams will return to the course in two weeks as they travel north to Terre Haute, Ind., to partake in the NCAA Pre-Nationals.