Commodores set to host Classic on Saturday

Sept. 17, 2015

Event: Commodore Classic
Day, Date: Saturday, Sept. 19
Host: Vanderbilt
Site: Percy Warner Park
Start Times: 9 a.m. Men’s 8k l 10 a.m. Women’s 5k
Results: HERE

Adding to the excitement of a special weekend for the Vanderbilt community, the Commodore cross country teams will welcome 21 schools to Nashville on Saturday for the annual Commodore Classic at Percy Warner Park. The Vanderbilt men will be in action at 9 a.m., and the VU women — ranked No. 22 in the nation and No. 1 in the South Region — will compete at 10 a.m. among a field of roughly 280 women. The Commodore squads are expected to have a large group of supporters for the meet, which comes during Parent and Family Weekend on the Vanderbilt campus. The meet will feature a talent-rich field of teams, including 18 teams who appear in the latest USTFCCCA regional rankings. (See below for team rankings and see bottom of page for a full list of teams). Here’s a closer look at the event, which is VU’s lone home meet of the season:

l The skinny on the Commodores. This weekend’s meet will be the second event of the season for the Commodore men and women. The Vanderbilt teams opened the season on Sept. 5 at the Belmont Opener, where the No. 22-ranked Vanderbilt women, competing with an abbreviated roster, took second place and the VU men finished fourth. The Commodores were led by freshmen in both the women’s and men’s races. Caroline Pietrzyk paced the women by taking second place overall at 17:24.3, finishing just seventh-tenth of a second behind meet champion Hannah Wittman of Belmont. On the men’s side, VU freshman Jason Vincze took 19th overall with a time of 16:06.8 to lead the Commodores.

l Impressive field. This weekend’s meet will feature a long list of teams who are ranked by the USTFCCCA. In addition to three nationally ranked squads — the No. 12 Michigan women, the No. 15 Ole Miss men and the No. 22 Vanderbilt women — there are a total of 18 squads who are ranked in the USTFCCCA’s regional poll. On the women’s side, seven of the South Region’s 15 ranked teams will be involved in the Classic, including No. 1 Vanderbilt, No. 3 Lipscomb, No. 4 Miss. State, No. 9 Ole Miss, No. 10 Georgia Tech, No. 14 Belmont and No. 15 MTSU. The women’s field also features a pair of teams ranked in the Southeast Region (No. 7 Louisville and No. 15 Clemson) and two more from the Great Lakes Region (No. 3 Michigan and No. 5 Ohio State). The men’s field features five ranked teams from the South Region (No. 4 MTSU, No. 7 Georgia Tech, No. 9 Lipscomb, No. 12 Miss. State and No. 14 Belmont), along with one ranked team from the Southeast Region (No. 7 Louisville) and one from the Great Lakes Region (No. 10 Ohio State).

l Scheduled to run for the Vanderbilt women. Reagan Anderson, Sara Barron, Katherine Delaney, Devon Grisbaum, Megan Huebner, Ginger Hutton, Rebecca Jacobson, Caroline Pietrzyk, Sara Tsai, Vanessa Valentine and Lily Williams.

l Scheduled to run for the Vanderbilt men. Dan Arthur, Caleb Casolaro, Sam DeFabrizio, Waqqas Fazili, Nick French, Nikos Gkotsis, Evan Suzman, Jake Van Geffen and Jason Vincze.

l Looking back to last year. The Vanderbilt women rolled to a victory in impressive fashion at last year’s Classic, placing five runners among the top-seven in the 5K event. The Commodores finished with 25 points, well ahead of second-place Mississippi State (114 points) and third-place MTSU (123). Vanderbilt’s top five runners finished in succession in the No. 3 through 7 positions. Carmen Carlos took third place overall with a time of 17:15.4, and she was followed by teammates Sara Barron (fourth at 17:17.5), Claire Benjamin (fifth at 17:21.5), Amira Joseph (sixth at 17:21.6) and Katherine Delaney (seventh at 17:22.0). The Vanderbilt men finished 13th in the 8k race. John Ewing led the Commodores with a time of 26.00.99 for a 59th place finish and Nick French finished second among the Vanderbilt runners with a time of 26:15.28 in 70th place.


Head coach Steve Keith:

On the talent-rich field at the Classic.
“This will be one of the better meets in the country of the weekend. Technically, we are still in the ‘early’ part of the season — that will end with our next meet — so I think this would definitely classify as a great early-season meet.”

On the amount of teams – and fans – at this weekend’s meet.
“It’s great for our athletes to go ahead and get used to this type of environment and it will help us prepare for the big meets like Notre Dame and Wisconsin. This weekend will help us get adjusted to running in a dense crowd and that will be one of the big take-aways from this meet. Some of our younger athletes will be learning how not to get lost and how to be in the place they need to be.”

Associate head coach Rhonda Riley:

On the team’s objectives for the meet.
“What we’re looking to do this weekend is to get out and really mix it up with some of the top teams in the nation. Mainly, we want to focus on our team gelling. We are adding a pair of young ladies (who didn’t run last week), and we are looking forward to seeing them make the pack even stronger.”

On the excitement surrounding Parents and Family weekend at Vanderbilt.
“I think it really adds something special to the meet, and it’s great for our athletes to have a chance to run at home and have their parents get to watch them compete. Our athletes always seem to rise to the occasion in this setting, and we are looking forward to a great weekend.”

On the field of teams for Saturday’s meet.
“This is, by far, the best home meet we’ve ever put together and it’s going to be great for our teams to get this type of competition earlier (in the season) than they’ve ever had. With the way our schedule is, each meet is an upgrade in the quality of competition — and that is certainly true this weekend.”

The complete cast.
Here’s a look at the complete field for this weekend:

Vanderbilt (men and women)
Alabama A&M (women)
Alabama State (men and women)
Belmont (men and women)
Clemson (men and women)
Davidson (men and women)
Georgia Tech (men and women)
Lipscomb (men and women)
Louisville (men and women)
Marshall (men and women)
Memphis (men and women)
Michigan (women), MTSU (men and women)
Mississippi State (men and women)
Ole Miss (men and women)
Murray State (men and women)
Ohio State (men and women)
Samford (men and women)
SE Missouri (men and women)
Tennessee Tech (men and women)
UAB (women)
Western Kentucky (men)