Cross Country Results at SECs

Oct. 28, 2006

Women’s Results | Men’s Results

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Vanderbilt women’s cross country team finished seventh Saturday while the men placed 10th in a Southeastern Conference championship meet that was swept by the University of Arkansas.

Senior Brittany Sizer paced the Vanderbilt women’s squad, finishing 34th overall by completing the 6-kilometer women’s course in 21:38.63. Junior Julie Eckerly was the only other Commodore to place in the top 50, finishing 49th in 22:11.84.

“I think Brittany deserves a lot of credit for battling really hard today,” head coach Steven Keith said. “She finished on her face – literally. I could see that she was struggling early and I think she was tired at the halfway mark. It was not a great day for her but she still really battled hard.”

Despite the absence of senior Erica Schneble, who has not been able to run since late September with a broken foot, the Commodore women were able to replicate their 7th place finish from 2005.

“We grouped pretty well today,” Keith said. “Seventh, given the health status of a couple of the girls, I think was a good effort for the women. Realistically, without Erica, we go from a fifth place team to a seventh place team. So being able to follow through and finish there is a solid effort.”

Sophomore Amanda Scott finished 52nd for Vanderbilt in 22:17.99, Sophomore Carmen Mims placed 57th in 22:24.93 and Junior Val Kazmer finished 66th 22:43.69. None of the five other Vanderbilt runners managed to place any higher than 83rd in the 105 woman field.

Overall, the Arkansas women ended a run of three straight conference titles by the Tennessee Lady Vols, easily outpacing the field by placing each of the top three runners, five of the top seven and seven of the top eleven.

The Vanderbilt men, after finishing last in the 2005 SEC Championship, took a modest step forward by placing 10th overall Saturday.

Junior Austin Williamson led the Commodores with a 41st place finish, completing the 8-kilometer men’s course in 25:41.30. Senior Austin Weaver, the only other top-50 finisher for Vanderbilt, took 48th place overall in 25:54.68.

“By and large, everybody ran maybe 20 places better than they had before at the SEC meet, so this is a really nice step for the men,” Keith said. “Today was a much, much better effort.”

Freshman Thomas Davis finished 51st for Vanderbilt in 26:05.04, while sophomores Rob Whiting and Mike Nordlund finished 66th and 68th respectively, the only other runners to finish higher than 84th for a relatively young Vanderbilt men’s squad.

“They are really starting to believe that despite not being one of the fully-funded programs that they belong here, that they are able to compete,” Keith said. “That is a big step for them.”

Overall, the Arkansas men won their 16th consecutive SEC championship Saturday under the tutelage of legendary cross country and track and field coach John McDonnell, who also coaches the Arkansas women. The Razorbacks placed four of the top five runners, five of the top seven and seven of the top 21.

“The competition in the SEC is unbelievably strong,” Keith said. “And it is only getting better. Four of the top 20 teams in the country are in this conference. But we want to be in the mix and so that is what we need to look for and focus on.”