Sept. 2, 2010
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Vanderbilt men's and women's cross country teams open the 2010 season at the Belmont-Vanderbilt Opener Friday. The women's race is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. at Percy Warner Park in Nashville while the men follow at 6 p.m. The women look to defend their title at the meet for the third consecutive year and the men hope to improve upon last year's fourth place finish.
The field of competitors will feature runners from Alabama, Austin Peay, Belmont, Bethel, Lipscomb, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Tennessee, Tennessee Martin, Trevecca Nazarene and Western Kentucky.
"On the women's side, Alabama, Tennessee and Western Kentucky have strong programs," cross country head coach Steve Keith said on the competition. "In the men's race, Memphis, Tennessee, MTSU and Lipscomb will all be up there."
Friday's meet marks the first time the 10 newcomers from both squads will compete at the collegiate level. The women's team features five freshmen that will make an immediate impact.
"On the women's side, we will be holding out our seniors, Rita, Kristabel and Adrienne, as well as Louise," Keith sad. `This will give our freshman and sophomores a chance to step up and really contribute in this early meet."
Holding out these runners will mean that three of the top four and four of the top seven Vanderbilt finishers from the race last year will not make an impact in this race. "The freshman have a lot of physical and emotional energy and are ready to get out there," Keith said.
With four newcomers on the men's squad, the goal of the season is to redefine the team and to focus on grouping during races.
"For the men, our main focus is to get five or six guys to finish within 15 to 20 seconds of each other," Keith said.
Results from the meet will be posted on vucommodores.com as well as the link at the top of the page.