XC Video: Commodores on the run at Centennial Park

Sept. 24, 2014

For many Vanderbilt students, Centennial Park is a perfect place to take a walk, relax and enjoy the sunshine. But when the members of the Vanderbilt cross country teams visit the park, they don’t bring frisbees and lawn chairs.

Rather, the Commodores are there to work.

Each year, during the month of September, the Vanderbilt teams routinely hold intense workouts at the historic site, which is located across the street from the Vanderbilt campus.

Last week, the Vanderbilt women ran eight 1000-meter laps and the men ran ten 1000-meter laps during a morning training session at Centennial.

The women opened with a controlled pace of 3:35 on the first 1k, then attempted to lower their times with each lap, eventually working down to a sub-3:20 on the final lap.

Sharing the park with a large gaggle of geese, the Vanderbilt runners furiously circled the course, which includes a long straight-away stretch in front of the Parthenon.

With stopwatches and clipboards in hand, Vanderbilt head coach Steve Keith and assistant coach Rhonda Riley monitored the progress of the runners as they made their way around the sprawling park.

“Not many teams in the country get to work out at a place like this,” said Riley, glancing around on the course.

The Vanderbilt women, ranked No. 22 in the country, have opened the season with two impressive showings, easily capturing the team titles at the Belmont Opener (Aug. 29) and the Commodore Classic (Sept. 13).

Vanderbilt finished with 20 points at the Opener, as all 12 of the VU representatives finished within 36 seconds of one another. They each earned spots among the top-17, including seven Commodore who crossed the line in succession while claiming the No. 2 through No. 8 finishes.

At the Commodore Classic last weekend, Vanderbilt had five runners finish among the top-seven. The Commodores finished with 25 points, well ahead of second-place Mississippi State (114 points) and third-place MTSU (123).

The Vanderbilt men took 13th at the Commodore Classic and were sixth at the Opener.