Nov. 11, 2010
After having the last two weeks to prepare, the Vanderbilt cross country teams are ready to put all of their training to the test at the NCAA South Regional this weekend. The women’s race is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Saturday, with the men following at 10:45 a.m. at Veterans Park in Hoover, Ala.
The Commodores will be competing against 36 other teams for a spot in the NCAA National Championship later this month. The top two teams from the South Regional will travel to Terre Haute, Ind. to compete against the top finishers from the eight other regions on Nov. 22.
The women’s team has already made history this year by posting a school-best third place finish at the SEC Championships. Advancing to nationals as a team is the next mark the Commodores would like to make.
“We haven’t prepared any differently for this race,” said head coach Steve Keith. “It’s a championship race, so we’ll try to approach it the same way we approached the SEC meet. If we have another race after this weekend, that would be great.”
Six of the seven women who will compete this weekend competed in the regional meet last year, where the Commodores posted a school-best fifth place finish. Rita Jorgensen finished 25th overall with a time of 21:13.74, while Jordan White was just seven seconds behind in 28th place.
While running as a group and finishing within 25 seconds of each other has been a consistent goal of the team for the season, the regional meet offers individuals a chance to set personal goals. The top 25 finishers at Saturday’s meet will be named All-Regional and will have a chance to earn Academic All-American honors.
“There are some little incentives along the way,” said Coach Keith. “I’d love to see them all try to be recognized for all-region. Also, for our top runners there’s a chance that they could make it to nationals if we don’t make it as a team.”
Compared to 12 teams that competed at the conference meet, the regional meet will feature 32 teams in the men’s race and 36 teams in the women’s race. For the men, they have set their goal to finish in the top 15 of the race.
“I think it’s a viable goal,” noted Coach Keith. “If they run together like they did at the conference meet, if we can get them to finish within 25 seconds, then we’ll be doing alright.”
Following the race, results will be posted to vucommodores.com as well as cfptiming.com. For more behind the scene information and pictures of the Vanderbilt cross country teams, be sure to follow them on Twitter @Vandyxctrack.
Participating teams: Alabama, Auburn, Austin Peay, Belmont, Bethune Cookman, Central Florida, Chattanooga, Florida, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Jacksonville, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Memphis, Mercer, Miami, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Mississippi Valley, North Florida, Ole Miss, Samford, South Alabama, South Florida, Southern Miss., Tennessee, Tennessee Tech, Tennessee-Martin, Troy, UAB, Vanderbilt
*Teams in italics are running in the women’s race only while the teams in bold are running in the men’s race only. All other teams will compete in both races.