Men's Cross Country Travels To Auburn

Men’s Cross Country Travels To Auburn


The men’s cross country team will go head-to-head with Southeastern Conference competition for the first time this season at Auburn University on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Vanderbilt will be joining Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State and South Carolina at the line, along with 22 other schools from around the region.

“There will be so many people in the race that every second between our first five guys will really count,” sophomore Austin Williamson said. “We’re working on closing the gaps because we’ve got good strength in the back pack.”

The Commodores’ last competition in Memphis gave the team a chance to test out VU Head Coach Don Bailey’s racing strategy at a lower-key event. The team placed second out of thirteen teams, but Bailey marked the race as more of a learning experience for Vanderbilt.

“With the large number of competitors we’ll see this coming weekend, we needed to get a good feel for starting further back in the field and working our way up, rather than heading to the lead pack right from the start,” Bailey said. “The guys executed that very well this past weekend, and we’re looking to use that same style of racing for some favorable results coming up.”

The Memphis race was a breakthrough race for freshman Matt Long. Long (27:33) earned his highest team placement of the season, with a fourth place finish on the Commodore squad and a 20th rank overall.

Bailey expects other Commodores to have breakthrough races in the next two competitions at Auburn and Evansville, Ind., before the SEC Tournament.

“I take a more gradual approach to developing fitness throughout the season with our guys. I’m seeing steady improvement in the workouts week after week, and the racing is just now beginning to follow suit,” Bailey explained. “A bonus is having the consistency this year that we haven’t had much of in the past, as far as where our one through five runners are finishing each week in the overall results.”

The 13th-annual Auburn Invitational 8k will take place Saturday, October 8 at the Indian Pines Golf Course in Auburn, Alabama. For more meet information, visit