TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Vanderbilt women’s cross country team welcomed back junior standout Rita Jorgensen to the lineup as she helped lead the Commodores to a 25th place finish in the Blue Race at the Indiana State Pre-Nationals Saturday. The VU women finished 25th out of the 37-team race with 615 points while the men competed in the 8,000-meter open race.
19th-ranked Colorado won the women’s team race as they finished with 94 points. No. 11 Florida State (135), No. 4 Oregon (169), No. 13 Georgetown (200) and No. 6 Stanford (206) rounded out the top-five teams in the meet.
Jorgensen, who was competing in her first meet since the Belmont-VU Opener (Sept. 4) paced the ‘Dores in the 6K with a time of 22:00.1, good for 91st place overall.
“I thought the women competed well today,” Head Coach Steve Keith. “We finished a couple of places better than last year and had a much lower point total. It was great to get Rita out there and running with the team.”
Sophomore Kristabel Doebel-Hickok finished six seconds back of Jorgensen with a time of 22:06.6, while Jordan White was the third Vanderbilt runner to finish, clocking a 22:20.1. Fellow sophomore Louise Hannallah finished 10 seconds back of White after clocking a 22:30.8.
“Jordan White had very nice race today and our third through five runners are moving up,” Keith said. “We look forward to watching Rita and Kristabel working together up front in the weeks ahead.”
Alexa Rogers and Allie Scalf were the fifth and sixth Commodores to finish Saturday as they crossed the finish line at the 22:42.1 and 22:48.9, respectively. Freshman Kristen Findley closed out the Vanderbilt runners with a 22:52.5.
“This race gives us a view toward the SEC Championships and what will be necessary for a good race,” Keith added. “It looks like there are four or five teams in a very close group for the fourth through eighth places. We've narrowed the gap but there is still some work to do. I feel that we will be on a nice upswing at the SEC's.”
On the men’s side, Vanderbilt was once again paced by sophomore standout Jenner Kizer. The Fort Worth, Texas native recorded a time of 26:34.6 in the men’s 8000-meter open race to finish 47th out of 111 competitors.
The freshman tandem of Billy Malmed and Chris Baker were the second and third Commodores to cross the tape as they notched times of 27:16.2 and 27:18.4.