Sept. 29, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Up against a very strong field, the eighth-ranked Vanderbilt women's cross country team placed sixth in the 5K Gold Race at the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, September 29.
The men's squad placed 23rd in the Blue 8K race, while another group of Commodore women placed eighth in the 5K Blue race.
The group of four runners looking to be Vanderbilt's fifth was a little further behind. Allie Scalf scored 85 points for the Commodores, finishing 86th with a time of 17:55.01.
"It was an excellent race for Kristen (Findley) up front," said Vanderbilt Head Coach Steve Keith. "It's great to watch as she really has come into her own."
Keith knows the biggest problem for Vanderbilt was the separation between the top-four runners and the fifth and final scoring Commodore.
"I thought the top four ran close to what we wanted, but we really have some work to do with our fifth," Keith said. "I have confidence that we will narrow that gap from four to five."
Arizona won the race with 71 points, followed by Washington (80 points). Michigan State and Arkansas tied for third with 135 points. Penn State was fifth with 161 poitns.
In the men's Blue race, the Commodores were paced by John Ewing, who finished 42nd with a time of 25:47.28. Eastern Kentucky won the race with 96 points.
Keith was very pleased with the performance of Ewing.
"John Ewing had a nice race," Keith said. "We're missing a couple of top men and it really hurt our team performance today."
In the women's Blue race, Keith was happy with the experience some of his younger runners were able to gain.
West Virginia won the race with 41 points.
"The (women's) Blue race went well and some of our younger runners gained valuable experience," Keith said. "They are showing some impressive competitiveness and fitness."
When the Commodores return to the course, they'll again see the women's squad be split. The top runners will head to Madison, Wis., for the Wisconsin-Adidas Invitational on Friday, October 12. A season ago, that was where Vanderbilt burst on to the national scene, placing second ahead of 19 nationally ranked schools.
The remainder of the women's team and the men's team will head to the Evansville Invitational in Evansville, Ind., on Saturday, October 13.
"This was the real start to our season, running against the best field in the nation this weekend," Keith concluded. "We know what we need to do and we're looking forward to the next two-to-four weeks of focused training and racing."