Louisville Classic

Vanderbilt looks to show form in deep field

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt men’s and women’s cross country teams return to action with another quality race experience set for Saturday at the Greater Louisville Classic from E. P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky.

The men run the 8,000 meters at 8:30 a.m. CT followed by the women’s 5,000 meters at 9:15 a.m. Vanderbilt, which hopes to benefit from temperatures in the mid-to-upper 50s at race time, will be joined by fellow Southeastern Conference competitors Kentucky, Mississippi State and Tennessee.

The women have climbed to No. 4 in the NCAA South Region following a sixth-place result at the Buckeye Preview. The unit finished the six-kilometer race with 140 points. This week’s runners include Kendall Derry, Annie Gallagher, Lauren Moffett, Anna Grace Morgan, Alena Sapeinza-Wright and Mailin Struck.

“A lot of times we like to run everyone at the same meet, but this gives these kids a chance to step up and show what level they want to contribute,” head coach Steve Keith said of the women. “We’re looking forward to seeing how they represent together.”

The men head into Saturday ranked 15th in the NCAA South Region. The group is competing for the first time since Sept. 14 at the Commodore Classic, where sophomore Nick Laning finished 16th overall (24:54), becoming the fastest Commodore ever over the Percy Warner Park.

The men will race eight student-athletes including Jonah Bird, Matthew Estopinal, Edward Harpstead, Andrew Irvine, Laning, Lucas Mowery, Harrison Thomas and Caleb Van Geffen.

“Nick Laning is on fire,” Keith said. “This should be a lot of fun. It’s a massive race. He doesn’t have a problem getting out in the mix. I’m excited to see what he can do. He went 24:54 at our place and this course can be 30 seconds faster. I’m looking for a good race for the guys. If they want to step up and beat a team or two at SEC’s this is one that will give them that really good opportunity.”

Vanderbilt returns Oct. 19 at the NCAA Pre-Nationals from Terre Haute, Indiana. The meet will be the final before the SEC Championships on Nov. 1 in Lexington, Kentucky.

“The men have been really tight as a team,” Keith said. “That has been fun to watch. The women are showing tremendous consistency and that’s showing in their races and the ability to race together.”