NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt men’s and women’s cross country will open the 2021 season Friday at the Mizzou Opener in Columbia, Missouri.
Hosted by the University of Missouri at the Gans Creek Cross Country Course, the men will hit the starting line first for their 6k race at 8:30 a.m., followed by the women’s 5k race at 9 a.m. Joining the Commodores will be the men and women from Arkansas, Kentucky and the host Tigers.
Vanderbilt will be represented by Jonah Bird, Matthew Estopinal, Zach Hodges, Nick Laning, Philip Metcalf, Andy Niser, Corey Pacernick, Mathew Ragsdale and Caleb Van Geffen, while the women’s squad will feature Joslin Blair, Gigi Clifford, Caroline Eck, Cameron Fawcett, Jenna Holland, Grace Jensen, Ella Lambert, Gillian Mortimer, Lainey Phelps, Jacque Pinon, Julia Rosenberg, Haley Walker and McKenzie Yanek
Vanderbilt, which enters its first season under newly-appointed director of cross country and track and field Althea Thomas and distance coach Michael Porter, was selected ninth in the women’s SEC preseason poll and tied for 11th on the men’s side.
Both the women’s and men’s team returns all of their regular scorers from last season. In addition to a new crop of freshmen, the men return Caleb Van Geffen for a fifth year while on the women’s side Gillian Mortimer returns for a fifth year and graduate transfer McKenzie Yanek joins the Commodores after an All-SEC stint with Alabama and earning an undergraduate degree from the University of San Francisco.
Last season on this course, then-junior Matthew Estopinal was the runner-up in the men’s race while then-junior Grace Jensen paced the women as both Vanderbilt cross country teams finished third on a chilly Saturday, Oct. 3 morning.
Be sure to follow Vanderbilt cross country and track and field programs on all social media platforms at @vandyxctrack.