NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Vanderbilt cross country teams return to the course for the Commodore Classic in their second meet of the season Saturday at Percy Warner Park in Nashville. The men run at 9 a.m., and the women at 10 a.m.
Numerous Tennessee teams will join the `Dores, including Belmont, Bethel, Lipscomb, Memphis, Rhodes, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.
"There's a pretty nice mix of Division I teams along with some of the strongest D-3 teams in the Southeast," Steve Keith, Vanderbilt head coach, said.
Keith hopes the 8k (men) and 5k (women) races will challenge his runners' endurance and teamwork. He's looking for his athletes to run in packs and to narrow the time intervals between the first and fifth Commodore finishers.
"We are in a pretty strenuous training phase, so this will be a nice test for the teams," said Keith. "Our main goal is to push and test ourselves, but also have a healthy race as we prepare for the bigger, faster meets in October and ultimately the championship races in November."
"I am very proud of the men and women so far," Rhonda Riley, assistant coach, said. "They have been working extremely hard for the past five weeks and have been doing some additional work that has improved their overall athleticism and has strengthened them as runners."
In the 2007 Classic, the women placed third and the men fourth. Jorgensen won the race, and DiRaddo ran well. This weekend, Scott and freshmen runners Hannallah and Rogers will pace themselves at the top of the pack.
Davis and Kasten led the men last year, and are aided this fall by freshmen Kizer and Rewick.
"The Classic is a great race for our athletes," said Riley. "Since it is at home they are familiar with the course and have an advantage over other teams."
After a strong opening race and promising results thus far, the teams should run well Saturday. The women enter the competition ranked No. 4 in the South region, behind Florida State, Florida and Tennessee, and the men No. 12.