Commodores ready to run in Opener

Sophomore Sara Barron finished sixth in last year's Belmont Opener.

Aug 29, 2013

Nashville, Tenn. - Vanderbilt's cross country teams open the season Friday at the Belmont Opener on the Commodores' home course at Percy Warner Park.

The 20th ranked women's team will send nine runners to the starting line Friday afternoon for the 5K race. Reagan Anderson, Sara Barron, Claire Benjamin, Rebecca Chandler, Carmen Carlos, Katherine Delaney, Courtney Kriegshauser, Vanessa Valentine and Megan Yohe make up the squad.

"Regarding the Belmont Opener, with not running our full squad, this is a great meet to test our freshmen and put some of the upperclassmen in leadership roles to help the newcomers," head coach Steve Keith said. "The depth of our team is as good as ever and it's nice to share the load and put everyone in a position where their contribution is necessary and needed."

The young group will be led by senior Megan Yohe and juniors Claire Benjamin and Rebecca Chandler with the rest of the team being comprised of sophomores and freshmen.

"I am looking forward to seeing our two Juniors lead this young and talented squad," assistant coach Rhonda Riley said. "Becca and Claire have put in a lot of hard work this summer and are ready for their leadership role on Friday."

The Dores ran away with last year's Belmont Opener with Hannah Jumper crossing the line first in the 4K race to take top individual honors. Barron (sixth) and Valentine (ninth) each placed in the top ten to help Vandy edge Kentucky by a single point.

In the men's race, the Commodores will send 10 runners out on the course. Senior David McAdams leads the squad into the first meet of the year with juniors Andrew Bachman, Matthew Cleveland, John Ewing and Dan Henderson helping pace the team. Sophomores Andrew Fix and Nick French will look to build on solid freshmen campaigns while fellow sophomore and transfer Sam Reilly will make his debut as a Dore. Making their collegiate debuts will be freshmen Sam Andrews and Jake Van Geffen.

"The men have been working extremely hard, look to be very focused and have shown to be a much closer group than in the past which will help them greatly," Keith said. "With more depth on the squad we hope to be able to keep a tighter 1-5 grouping which will be essential to our success."

Ewing was the Commodores' top finisher last season in the Belmont Opener coming in at 16:22.00 followed closely by Bachman at 16:25.60.

"The men have been focusing on running as a pack and have worked well as a group during practice," Riley said. "I know they are ready to compete for the first time this season."

The women's race is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday on the cross country course at Percy Warner Park with the men's race set for approximately 6 p.m.



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