Aug 14, 2013
Nashville, Tenn. -
For the third straight year Vanderbilt's women's cross country team is expected to compete for a Southeastern Conference championship with the league's coaches picking the Commodores to finish third behind Arkansas and defending champ Florida.
"We're very excited about the upcoming season," Vanderbilt Head Coach Steve Keith said. "This year's squad has a very talented mix of experience and youth, not unlike our group from a couple of years ago. The challenge, as always, will be how well can this group come together and really run as a team when we get into the championship part of our season in October and November."
Vanderbilt captured its first-ever SEC title two years ago and finished third last season on its home course at Percy Warner Park. The Dores are led by SEC Freshman of the Year and first team All-SEC runner Hannah Jumper, who burst onto the scene last season. Senior Liz Anderson brings All-SEC credentials to the squad as well earning first team honors in 2011 and All-Freshman honors in 2010. Rebecca Chandler, Amira Joseph and Grace Orders all captured SEC All-Freshman honors two years ago and will look to contribute this season as juniors.
"The team has worked hard this summer to prepare for another exciting year of competition," assistant coach Rhonda Riley said. "The SEC continues to improve with more quality teams this year and we expect this trend to continue. The team is looking forward to representing Vanderbilt in the SEC Championships."
The Vanderbilt men's team was picked to finish in a tie for 12th in the league with LSU. The Commodores topped the Tigers last season in the SEC Championships for 12th marking the first time since 2009 the Dores defeated an SEC team at the Championships. Junior John Ewing leads the way for the Dores on the men's side after a solid sophomore campaign. Fellow juniors Matthew Cleveland and Andrew Bachman will look to build off their sophomore seasons as well.
Both Arkansas' men's and women's teams were selected to take home the title by the coaches. The 2013 SEC Cross Country Championships are slated to take place Friday, Nov. 1 at Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla.
Vanderbilt opens the cross country season on August 30 in the Belmont Opener at Percy Warner Park before hosting the Commodore Classic on September 14.