NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On a perfect Saturday morning at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Vanderbilt men’s and women’s cross country opened its 2020 season with the Commodore Classic. The men, who were led by junior Nick Laning, finished third, while the women were paced by junior Grace Jensen and finished fourth.
“There were a lot of positives to take away from today,” said head coach Steve Keith. “I’m proud of them for the opening meet and their first competitive races in seven months. This has to flip the switch to where we can now be in an aggressive and competitive mindset going forward. Every race will get better. We’re building toward that fourth race (SEC Championships).”
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The men finished third with 52 points — which was just four behind Kentucky for second — and well in front of Auburn (90) and Alabama (137). Missouri won with 37 points.
The women finished with 78 points to beat out Auburn (132), while Kentucky took home the team title with 38 points.
The men’s race kicked off the first athletic event of the 2020-21 season for Vanderbilt University. Laning ran with the lead pack for much of the 8-kilometer course and finished sixth overall at 24.55.5. Junior Matthew Estopinal (25:21) and senior Caleb Van Geffen (25:25) were 12th and 14th, respectively, while junior Jonah Bird (25:41) and freshman Corey Pacernick (25:51) rounded out the scoring for the Commodores with 18th and 22nd-place finishes.
The top-five women were led by Jensen’s 11th-place finish (21:44), followed by freshman Lainey Phelps (22:23) and senior Gillian Mortimer (22:25) in 15th and 16th, and sophomore Caroline Eck (22:40) in 18th and junior Haley Walker (22:45) in 21st.
Vanderbilt continues its season with its first road trip in two weeks. The Commodores will compete at the Gans Creek Classic in Columbia, Missouri.