Runners set to compete at Pre-Nationals

Oct. 15, 2010

Meet Information

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the final tune-up before the SEC Championships, the Vanderbilt cross country teams will head to Terre Haute, Ind., for the biggest collegiate invitational of the season, the Pre-National Invitational, hosted by Indiana State University.

The invitational features three races for the men and three for the women: blue, white and open. The Commodores will have seven women racing in the 6,000-meter blue race at 10 a.m. CT, while the men will compete in the 8,000-meter open race at 1:05 p.m. (CT). The five women who do not run in the blue race will run in the open race at 1:35 p.m. (CT).

In the blue race, the women will face top runners from nine of the top 30 teams in the country, including Florida State (No. 3), Arizona (6) and SEC foe Arkansas (25).

“We’ve talked about facing the ranked teams and I feel better about this group than previous years,” said head coach Steve Keith. “We have a little higher expectations and I think their expectations are higher as well. We’re shooting high this year. We’ve looked at where we think we are in relation to previous years, and with everyone in better shape and more talent and more depth, we’ve got higher objectives. We’d love to get as close to the top 12 as possible.

With 39 teams competing in the blue race, the course will run fast as the almost 280 runners will get out to a quick start. With that many runners on the course, “you’re stuck a little bit, but it’s wide enough that you can move on it, you just really have to be focused on doing that. We start on the far right, but the first straightaway is a half mile long so you have a chance to get sorted out,” said Coach Keith.

In the open race, the men will compete against Bucknell, Eastern Washington, Weber State and Wichita State, along with extra runners from teams in the Blue and White races.

“The open race will offer almost as much talent as the SEC race,” said Coach Keith. “It’s a smaller field, which will be a bit more manageable. Chris (Baker) and Jenner (Kizer) will probably run really well together and then we’ll try to group up runners three, four, five and six.”

Follow the team on Twitter at for live results and pictures from the meet. Official results will be posted to on Saturday afternoon.