Aug. 6, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee men's cross country team, which welcomes back eight letterwinners from a year ago and a contingent of eight newcomers, will open its 2009 campaign at home on Sept. 19, according to 15th-year UT Men's Cross Country Coach George Watts.
The Vols will join the Lady Vols in playing host to the 10th edition of the Tennessee Invitational at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville on Sept. 19. Start time for the men's 8,000-meter race, which will take place in the rolling foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, is slated for 8:30 a.m. with the women's 5K competition to follow.
Watts and company will then hit the road for a trio of pre-conference tune-ups, all of them 8K affairs. The stops include a repeat appearance at the Colonial Inter-Regional Challenge at Eastern State Hospital - Dunbar Farms in Williamsburg, Va., at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 26, the third consecutive visit to the Greater Louisville Classic at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 3, and the Panorama Farms Invitational in Charlottesville, Va., where UT's women also will run, on Oct. 16. Start times for the last two of those meets have not been announced.
A year ago, Tennessee placed third out of nine teams at the Colonial Inter-Regional Challenge, which is hosted by the College of William & Mary. The Vols were fifth at the 2008 Greater Louisville Classic and third in 2007.
The final three events of the season are combined men's and women's meets. At 10 a.m. Central Time on Oct. 31, Tennessee will celebrate Halloween in Oxford, Miss., with the 8K SEC Championship race at the Ole Miss Golf Course. On Nov. 14, the distance will increase to 10K, and the focus will turn to Tuscaloosa, Ala., as the NCAA South Regional is contested at 10 a.m. CT at Harry Pritchett Running Park. The Vols, led by returning All-SEC/All-South Region performer Michael Spooner and 2008 SEC All-Freshman honoree Chris Bodary, will aim to improve upon fifth-place team finishes at both of those meets a year ago.
If all goes to plan, Tennessee will find itself in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 23 for the NCAA Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. The 10K competition is slated to get underway at 12:08 p.m. The Vols will be trying to make their 32nd overall appearance at the national championship meet and sixth berth during the Watts era.
"Our schedule will allow us to run on challenging courses against nationally-ranked competition every weekend," Watt said. "The schedule is designed with a focus on the courses and the competition, so that the guys will be prepared for the ultra-competitive postseason, which begins with the Southeastern Conference meet and hopefully continues to the NCAA Championships."
|2009 Tennessee Vols Cross Country Schedule|
|Sept. 19||Sat.||Tennessee Invitational||8K||Maryville, Tenn.||8:30 a.m. ET|
|Sept. 26||Sat.||Colonial Inter-Regional Challenge||8K||Williamsburg, Va.||9:30 a.m. ET|
|Oct. 3||Sat.||Greater Louisville Classic||8K||Louisville, Ky.||TBA ET|
|Oct. 16||Fri.||Panorama Farms Invitational||8K||Charlottesville, Va.||TBA ET|
|Oct. 31||Sat.||SEC Championships||8K||Oxford, Miss.||10 a.m. CT|
|Nov. 14||Sat.||NCAA South Regional||10K||Tuscaloosa, Ala.||10 a.m. CT|
|Nov. 23||Mon.||NCAA Championships||10K||Terre Haute, Ind.||12:08 p.m. ET|
|* All Dates & Times Subject To Change/Home Events In Bold|