Oct. 17, 2013
It will be a very busy weekend for Vanderbilt's cross country teams as the women's team will split into two teams with one headed to the Wisconsin adidas Invitational and the other with the men's squad to Alabama for the Crimson Classic.
Eight Commodores will toe the line in Madison, Wis. on Saturday at noon in one of the biggest races of the season. An absolute loaded field greets the Dores in Madison with 16 of the 36 teams in the Top 30, including top-ranked Providence.
"Wisconsin has provided us with some very good, big race experiences over the past couple of years," head coach Steve Keith said. "If you look at the numbers and high percentage of ranked teams, this is as close to an NCAA championship level race as you can get."
Vandy's eight-woman squad for the 6K race consists of senior Liz Anderson, juniors Rebecca Chandler, Claire Benjamin and Amira Joseph, sophomores Hannah Jumper and Vanessa Valentine and freshmen Carmen Carlos and Lily Williams. For seven of the eight ladies it will be their first race since the Roy Griak Invitational three weeks ago. The race will be Joseph's second of the season after running her first race at Louisville two weeks ago. For Anderson, Chandler and Jumper it will be a return trip to the meet with Anderson running it for the third time in her career. She crossed the line in 20:21.1 last year for 36th overall.
"The women have put in a lot of quality work the past three weeks," assistant coach Rhonda Riley said. "They are focused going into the meet and know they need to group up and run together with a purpose."
The course in Madison is open and fast and it will need to be with approximately 315 runners lining up for the race. Check out the course here.
Up first on the busy weekend thoough will be Friday's Crimson Classic, where Vanderbilt will be represented by women's and men's teams. The meet will be run on the same course as the NCAA South Regional in November.
The field in Tuscaloosa is full of SEC teams with Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Georgia toeing the line.
"Alabama will be a very challenging meet with quite a few SEC schools competing and I know that both groups of men and women running are looking forward to this challenge," Keith said. "We are still trying to define our squads for the SEC meet and this meet will go a long way in determining those rosters. Competing on the NCAA Regional course will also be a valuable experience, as we will be back in Tuscaloosa for the NCAA Regional in four weeks."
For the women in the 5K race, seniors Kara Slavoski and Megan Yohe will be joined by juniors Grace Orders and Katherine Delaney, sophomore Sara Barron and freshman Regan Anderson.
"The women running in Tuscaloosa have a great opportunity to mix it up with the SEC squads," Riley said. "Any time you have the opportunity to run the same course as a championship meet, it provides a bit of an advantage for those athletes. It will be great experience for this squad to be at this meet."
The men's team will send out a full squad of 10 runners for the 8K race led by junior John Ewing. Senior David McAdams, juniors Andrew Bachman, Matthew Cleveland and Dan Henderson, sophomores Sam Reilly, Nick French and Andrew Fix along with freshmen Jake Van Geffen and Sam Andrews all lining up for the 8K race.
"The opportunity for the men to race against the SEC squads before the championships will be a good test for them at this point in the season," Riley said. The men are ready for this meet and have had great training since Louisville."
The gun is scheduled to go off at 5 p.m. for the women's race and 5:30 p.m. for the men's race.