Vandy picked to repeat as SEC champs
Aug. 16, 2012
After winning their first league title in 2011, the Commodores were voted to repeat by eight of the league's coaches (out of 13; coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team). Arkansas was picked to finish second, while Florida was slotted third. Both the Razorbacks and Gators received three first place votes apiece.
"To be recognized as a favorite is a nice honor for the women and for our program," Vanderbilt Head Cross Country Coach Steve Keith said. "We've worked very hard these last few years to build up our program. To be in a position to run for championships has always been our goal."
Vanderbilt won the 2011 SEC Championship after placing five runners in the top 10. Of that group of five, three return this season, including All-SEC honorees Liz Anderson (first team), Jordan White (first team) and Kristen Smith (second team).
Also returning for Keith's squad are three freshmen who finished in the top 30 at the SEC Championships to earn All-Freshman Honors. Grace Orders, Rebecca Chandler and Amira Joseph will be looked at to help offset the loss of Alexa Rogers and Louise Hannallah.
Following last year's SEC title, the Commodores went on to place second at the NCAA South Regional and sixth at the NCAA Championships. Rogers became the program's first-ever All-American, while Anderson returns after missing All-America honors by just three positions.
On the men's side, Arkansas was picked to win the league, with the young and developing Commodore men's program picked to finish 13th. Vanderbilt will be anchored by its sophomore class, highlighted by John Ewing.
Vanderbilt will play host to the 2012 SEC Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships at Nashville's Percy Warner Park on Friday, October 26.
Keith knows his runners are ready to get the season started
"The women are very excited to defend their title at home in Percy Warner this October," he said. "With the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri, as well as the overall improvement of all the SEC programs, we know it will be quite the challenge."
The Commodores open the 2012 campaign on Friday, August 31, when they run in the Belmont Opener at Percy Warner.
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