NASHVILLE – The Vanderbilt cross country teams will hit the road for the first time this season heading to Louisville, Ky., for the Louisville Classic on Saturday. The field features teams from the ACC, SEC, Big Ten and several nationally-ranked opponents.
Setting the Stage
Event: Greater Louisville Classic
Date: Saturday, Sept. 30
Host: Louisville Sports Commission
Site: Tom Sawyer Park
Start Times: Men's 8K: 9:30 am l Women's 5K: 10:15 am
Hittin’ The Road
Saturdays’ trip to Louisville marks the first true road trip for the Commodore cross country teams. Vanderbilt has opened the 2017 season with back-to-back meets on their home course at Percy Warner Park at the Belmont Opener and the Commodore Classic. The Dores will be road-tested by the time the postseason comes around as they will race each of their next two regular season races on the road.
Preview of the 2017 National Championship Course
This weekend’s race will give the Commodores a chance to run the course that will serve as host to the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships in November. The 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships will be hosted by Louisville on Nov. 18.
From the Coaches
Head Coach Steve Keith
On the Louisville Classic …
“Every meet we run gets bigger, faster and more competitive as the season progresses. Louisville is no different with 40+ schools and seven teams nationally ranked or receiving votes. At least 25 of the schools are top-15 region teams so this will be a good test for our group. As fitness improves so does our expectation in terms of team race plan and group running. A time gap of 20-25 seconds between our No. 1-5 runners will be our best opportunity for a high team place. The challenge is to do this in a field of 40 teams and 300+ runners.”
Assistant Coach Rebekah Smeltzer
On the team’s preparation …
“Coach Keith and I have been really impressed with the way the team has been training these past six weeks, especially these last two. Each day we are seeing a lot of improvements in both confidence and fitness. We saw a lot of progress at the Commodore Classic two weeks ago and are looking forward to seeing even more this weekend. This race is going to be a great test for the team. With quite a substantial jump in the field size from the Commodore Classic it will be crucial for each individual to do what they can to find, work with and finish with a teammate.”
Scouting The Field
This weekend’s field is a strong one featuring over 100 teams from all over the region in three different divisions. The Big Ten, SEC and ACC each have teams in the field. In addition, there are four Division I nationally-ranked teams in the women’s field in Wisconsin (18), Minnesota (20), Vanderbilt (25) and Furman (29). The men’s side also features nationally-ranked opponents including top-ranked Northern Arizona as well as Wisconsin (7), Furman (12), Illinois (19), MTSU (20) and Virginia Tech (24). [COMPLETE FIELD]
In The Rankings
The Commodore women continue to move up the cross country rankings and are No. 25 in the latest national poll after breaking into the poll lost week at No. 29. The Dores are the No. 2 women’s team in the South region for the second straight week as the top three in the South region are unchanged in Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. [RELEASE]
On Your Marks, Get Set, GO …
A total of 19 Vanderbilt runners will compete this weekend. A list of all Vanderbilt runners competing is listed below:
Last Outing … Commodore Classic
The Vanderbilt women's cross country team ran a complete race in the 14th annual Commodore Classic and were rewarded with a runner-up finish in the 17 team women's field on Saturday at Percy Warner Park. The men's team placed 11th and were paced by Jason Vincze's top-50 finish. Seniors Megan Huebner and Maddie Criscione paced the women's team as both turned in top- 10 performances in a field highlighted by 2016 NCAA cross country champion, Karissa Schweizer from Missouri. Huebner ran a 17:39.02 to finish in seventh place while Criscione ran a 17.47.8 to take ninth place. For the men Jason Vincze continues to lead the pack. The junior from Plano, Texas finished 46th with a time of 26.11.18. [FULL RECAP]
The Commodores will split squads when they next race on Oct. 13. The women’s team heads up North to the Wisconsin-Nuttycombe Invitational while the men’s team travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to run at the Crimson Classic.
A Look at the 2017 Schedule
The Commodores will race in four regular-season meets this season. Following the Belmont Opener, Vanderbilt will host the Commodore Classic on Sept. 16 before traveling to the Louisville Classic (Sept. 30). The men will get a preview of the NCAA South Regional course at the Alabama Crimson Classic (Oct. 13) while the women will head to Wisconsin for the Wisconsin-Nuttycombe Invitational. The Dores will head to Athens, Ga., for the SEC Championship on Oct. 27 before heading back to Tuscaloosa for the NCAA South Regional on Nov. 10. [ SCHEDULES: MEN | WOMEN]
Follow The Commodores on Social Media
For all the latest information on the Vanderbilt cross country teams give them a follow on Twitter at @vandyxctrack.