Nov. 10, 2007
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Vanderbilt women’s and men’s cross country teams closed out the 2007 season at the NCAA South Regional Championship Saturday morning. Thirty-one teams and 322 student-athletes from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee participated in the event held at Mark Bostick Golf Course. The Commodore women finished 11th overall, while the VU men’s team finished 14th.
The Vanderbilt women’s team was led by Adrienne DiRaddo. She finished the 6k race 53rd overall in a time of 22:42.15. Next in line for the Commodores was Rita Jorgensen. Jorgensen placed 55th with a time of 22:46.06. Carmen Mims (63rd overall) was the third place team finisher. Mims’ time in the 6k was 23:11.14. Kate Southcote-Want and Val Kazmer rounded out the top five team finishers for Vanderbilt. Southcote-Want finished 69th overall in a time of 23:23.15. Kazmer finished right behind Southcote-Want in 70th place with a time of 23:24.98, which was better than her 2006 Regional Championship mark of 24:02. The Vanderbilt women earned a total of 295 points in their 11th place finish.
“We grouped well but not as far up as we would have liked to,” said Steve Keith. “Rita was in the top 10 for about half the race, and then fell off, but I thought she ran very well. She gave it a great shot. Adrienne ended up being our top runner. It was nice to beat Mississippi State and Auburn, who beat us at the conference meet.”
On the men’s side, the team tallied 384 points on their way to a 14th place showing. Chris Noel and Rob Whiting were the top dogs for the VU squad. Noel, who finished in 79th overall, ran the 10k race in 33:39.95. Whiting closed the race in 80th place with a time of 33:45.15. Thomas Davis (88th overall), Matt Long (90th overall) and Austin Williamson (92nd overall) all finished in the top five for the Commodores’ team. Davis finished the event in 34:14.38. Long completed the race in 34:16.40. Williamson’s time was 34:24.56. The four lead runners from VU improved upon their 2006 South Regional performance times.
“Chris and Rob ran very strong races today for the squad,” commented Keith. “Austin was a little too aggressive early and then just had to hang on for the last two miles.”
With much of the nucleus set to return for both teams in the 2008 campaign, Keith knows the light will shine brightly on the Commodores.
“We held our own through transition this season,” remarked Keith, adding, “I know we learned a valuable lesson through having a lot of young people running at the SEC and NCAA levels. We’ll grow from it.”