Nov. 14, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The men’s cross country team wrapped up their season with a 20th place finish in the 10K event at the NCAA South Regionals last weekend. Junior Alan Ash, who has led the team in the majority of the races this season, again finished first for the Commodores with a 78th place time of 33:31.5.
Ash was followed by freshman John Ewing, who paced the ‘Dores at the SEC Championships two weeks ago.
“John Ewing had a great freshman year,” said head coach Steve Keith. “I’m really happy with where he is and Andrew Bachman had a really solid freshman year as well. It was a good effort from them to step in and have to run a 10 K. I thought they competed well.”
Between the two freshmen and juniors Ash, Tomas Salazar and Billy Malmed, the team hopes that they can build upon their successes and lessons this season, much as the women's program has developed under the watchful mentorship of Keith.
Two weeks after claiming their first ever SEC Championship title, the Vanderbilt Cross Country women earned their first ever trip to the NCAA Championships after placing second overall at the South Regional this morning.
“I guess we realized four, five weeks ago at Wisconsin that this was a very real possibility,” said Keith. “Our top four runners were seven seconds apart today. They ran right next to each other the whole way.”
Vanderbilt has never made it to the Nationals before, and have only had two individuals make appearances at the race--Pamela Johnson in 1997, and current Commodore Jordan White in 2010.
White finished third for the Commodores with a 10th place finish behind teammates Louise Hannallah, and Alexa Rogers. Hannallah finished fifth overall with a time of 20:41.6, Liz Anderson scored fourth for the Dores with an 11th place finish, and freshman Grace Ordersrounded out the scoring for Vanderbilt with a 21st place finish for a team total of 54 points.
“The only thing that I was really thinking about was just that I was running this race for my team,” said Hannallah. “Every time I felt a little bit tired or didn’t think I could move up, I thought I wasn’t running for myself, I was running for my team. Everyone just stepped up completely and we helped each other.”
“I’m very proud of Louise,” said assistant coach Rhonda Riley. “She has been a solid rock this entire season and she knew she needed to step up today, and she did just that.”
The top five finishes for the Dores earned All-Region honors.
Kristen Smith, who was scheduled to run in the race, was scratched 30 minutes before the gun due to illness, bringing in junior Kristen Findley, who finished 34th overall with a time of 21:42.4.
The `Dores placed three runners in the top ten finishers to earn a trip to Terre Haute next week for the Nationals, just edging Florida, who finished with 62 points, for the final automatic bid from the South Regional. Florida State, the No. 1 ranked team in the country, finished first with 34 points.
Vanderbilt was ranked No. 2 in the region and No. 4 in the nation by the USTFCCCA in the last poll leading into this weekend's races.
“In the next nine days, our goal is to remain healthy and to go into Nationals with an open mind and knowing that on any given day it’s anybody’s race and we’re capable of doing great things,” said Riley.
78. Alan Ash 33:31.5
84. John Ewing 33:34.8
105. Jenner Kizer 33:59.8
112. Billy Malmed 34:16.8
115. Andrew Bachman 34:26.3
124. Kyle Rewick 34:40.5
158. Tomas Salazar 37:53.0
5. Hannallah 20:41.6
7. Rogers 20:43.1
10. White 20:47.6
11. Anderson 20:48.8
21. Orders 21:26.4
28. Amira Joseph 21:34.2
34. Findley 21:42.4