GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Friday morning, Vanderbilt cross country completed its second meet of the season, the Mountain Dew Invitational, which also served as a preview of the course for the NCAA South Region Championships in November. Out of 14 teams, the women placed second overall, and the men finished sixth out of 15 teams.
“Today was a good test for our teams,” director of cross country and track and field Althea Thomas said. “We took the opportunity to run at the site for the NCAA Regional Championships and test our focus and intentionality in a competitive environment.”
The Commodore men tallied 168 points to finish sixth as a team. Vanderbilt’s first finisher in the men’s 7.8-kilometer race was freshman Jack DesRoches, who came in eighth place with a time of 24:35.4. Freshman Brady Bliven was the second Dore to cross the finish line and 34th overall with a time of 25:13.0. Zach Hodges (25:22.2) and Andrew Pahnke (25:23.9) finished in the top 50 overall as the team’s third and fourth finishers. Jackson Scruggs was Vandy’s final top-5 finisher, coming in 54th place and turning in a time of 25:27.0.
“Our men entered this season adding new individuals as more than half our roster,” Thomas said. “We went in with a goal and strategy and executed very well, showing how we have formed the mindset to work together for a common goal.”
For the second-consecutive meet, the Vanderbilt women’s cross country team placed second overall, improving its team score to 42 points. Graduate student Caroline Eck led the way for the Dores, crossing the finish line of the 5-mile race fourth with a time of 17:14.3. Emma Curry (17:24.4) and Ella Lambert (17:25.4) were not far behind and placed sixth and seventh, respectively. Recording a time of 27:37.1, Julia Rosenberg finished fourth among Vanderbilt student-athletes and 10th overall. The fifth Commodore to finish the race was Joslin Blair, who was 15th overall and turned in a time of 17:46.3.
“Our ladies were led by fifth-year senior Caroline (Eck), and we continued building on our mission to be a contender in this conference and in the NCAA,” Thomas added. “This proved to be the perfect test and execution for where we are this season.”
Next, Vanderbilt will travel to Notre Dame, Indiana, to compete in the Joe Piane Invitational on September 29.