Vanderbilt men ready for Tallahassee trip

Oct. 9, 2014

Event: Florida State Invitational
Day, Date: Saturday, Oct. 11
Host: Florida State
Site: Apalachee Regional Park
Start Time: 6:45 p.m.

The Vanderbilt men’s cross country team is going stag this weekend. Rather than traveling with the women’s team as they usually do, the Commodore men are going on a solo mission as they journey to Tallahassee, Fla., to compete in the Florida State Invitational. (The VU women are off this weekend as they prepare for the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 17.)

Here’s a closer look at the storylines surrounding Saturday’s event, which will take place on the same course as next month’s NCAA Regionals:

l Getting back up to speed. Head coach Steve Keith said the Commodores weren’t especially pleased with their performance in their most recent race — the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 27. The Commodores finished 31st in the Men’s Gold 8K race at the Griak, which was hosted by the University of Minnesota. Nick French (27:41) and John Ewing (28:12) led the way for the Commodores.

l Representing the conference. The Commodores will be one of two SEC schools, along with Auburn, competing in Saturday’s race. Other Division I schools competing are Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida State, Jacksonville, South Florida, Stetson, Tennessee Tech and UL-Lafayette. A total of 19 non-Division I schools will round out the field.

l Night running deserves a quiet night. With the starting gun scheduled to sound at 6:45 p.m., the Commodores will essentially be running into the sunset. The evening start will likely mean that the runners will have pleasant weather for the race, with temperatures expected to be in the 70s.

l Making the trip for Vanderbilt: Andrew Bachman, Matthew Cleveland, Sam DeFabrizio, John Ewing, Andrew Fix, Nick French, Nikolaos Gkotsis, Dan Henderson, Sam Reilly, Jake Van Geffen.


Head coach Steve Keith:

On his team’s preparation for the race: I feel like the guys are excited. They are training well, and they had a great workout on Tuesday.

On the men’s team traveling without the women’s team: “When we were doing the scheduling, we saw this and felt like it was a good time to split the men off and get the focus on them.”

On the team’s mentality headed into the race: “The guys weren’t too happy with their results from Griak, so that will be a good motivation for this weekend. (Competing in the Griak) was a good learning experience for them.”