XC Postseason Awards Handed Out

Dec. 11, 2007

media_icon_photogallery.gif Postseason Awards Ceremony Photos

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rita Jorgensen and Austin Williamson walked away with top honors at the 2007 Vanderbilt men’s and women’s cross country postseason award ceremony Monday night.

Jorgensen, a freshman from Memphis, Tenn., was given the Most Valuable Performer award for the women’s cross country team. Jorgensen was the top finisher for the VU women’s team in five of six races.

“Rita stepped up to the role of front runner and team leader this season even though this was her first season of collegiate competition,” said head coach Steve Keith. “Rita was honored as SEC Freshman of the Week in September for her winning performance at our Commodore Classic in a very challenging collegiate field and never looked back as our MVP.”

Williamson, a senior from Des Moines, Iowa, closed out his collegiate campaign as the Most Valuable Performer from the men’s cross country team. Williamson led the Commodores in three of five races in 2007. He finished seventh overall in both the Belmont/Vanderbilt Opener and the Commodore Classic.

“Austin has shown what four years of hard work and consistent training will show,” noted Keith, adding, “Already one of the fastest Commodores ever on the track, Austin was our top runner for all but one race this season. His leadership, while hard to replace for next year, has been invaluable to the younger runners.”

A pair of seniors, Amanda Grosse (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Rick Semones (Louisville, Ky.) captured the Most Improved awards for the women’s and men’s teams, respectively. Grosse earned the first varsity letter of her career this season after finishing the Race for the Cure in a time of 18:36. Semones capped his career with his finest season yet and was the men’s team’s third place finisher in five of six races.

“Amanda improved greatly through the season, just missing the varsity standard in October and then totally blowing away the standard with a run of 18:36 at the end of the season. This was over a 1.5 minute personal best,” commented Keith. “Rick has been one of our most consistent runners all season and vastly improved over last year. His performances were continuously in our top three all season and he capped off the season with an excellent run at the SEC Championships.”

Adrienne DiRaddo and James Kasten each won the Best Newcomer award. DiRaddo, a freshman from The Woodlands, Texas, showed her best performance of the fall finishing in first place for the women’s team at the NCAA South Regional Championship race. DiRaddo also finished second on the team and ninth overall at the Belmont/Vanderbilt Opener.

“Adrienne showed poise and experience at a level that you like to see in freshmen,” exuded Keith. “A very steady performer, always in our top four, Adrienne is an excellent competitor who will be relied upon for leadership in future seasons.”

Kasten, a sophomore from Norwalk, Ohio, turned in a solid season with his best performance coming in the Commodore Classic. In the race, Kasten finished fourth on the team and in 42nd place overall.

“Through hard work this past season, he moved up to the level of contributing to the team score in most every race. I look for more steady improvement from James over the next few years,” summed up Keith.