Aug 14, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Tennessee men's cross country team was picked to finish ninth and the women's team was 12th in the SEC preseason coaches poll, which was released Wednesday by the conference office.
Points for the men's poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 basis while the women's poll was awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13 basis. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams. The Arkansas men's and women's teams were both picked to win the conference titles.
Both the UT men's the women's teams are returning their top starters from a year ago and have more experienced rosters.
Junior Peter Okwera is set to lead the men's team again this year. The native of Kampala, Uganda, earned All-America honors in cross country last year and was the Vols' top finisher at every meet last season. He placed sixth at both the SEC Championships and the NCAA South Regional Championships.
Other top returners include junior Austin Whitelaw (Monroe, Mich.), a member of the 2011 SEC All-Freshman team who had an injury-shortened 2012, and redshirt sophomore Kyle Walter (Knoxville, Tenn.), who recorded top top-20 finishes last season and was the team's No. 2 finisher twice.
As a team last year, the Tennessee men placed seventh at the SEC meet and were eighth at the NCAA South Regional Championships.
On the women's side, Alexis Panisse is back after her standout freshman season. She was the top finisher for the team in all but one meet last year and recorded two top-10 finishes, including a second-place result at the Crimson Classic in Alabama. She was named to the 2012 SEC All-Freshman Team.
The Tennessee women were 12th at the SEC Championships and 10th at the NCAA regional last season.
2013 SEC Men's Predicted Order of Finish
1. Arkansas (12) - 12
2. Florida (1) - 35
3. Missouri - 37
4. Georgia - 47
5. Auburn - 55
6. Texas A&M - 62
7. Kentucky - 80
8. Ole Miss - 85
9. Tennessee - 107
10. Alabama - 108
11. Mississippi State - 110
T12. LSU - 138
T12. Vanderbilt - 138
2013 SEC Women's Predicted Order of Finish
1. Arkansas (11) - 15
2. Florida (2) - 27
3. Vanderbilt (1) - 39
4. Georgia - 62
5. Ole Miss - 64
6. Texas A&M - 69
7. Kentucky - 75
8. Missouri - 107
9. Alabama - 108
10. South Carolina - 130
11. Mississippi State - 133
12. Tennessee - 142
13. Auburn - 147
14. LSU - 156
2013 SCHEDULE RELEASEDThe 2013 season is fast approaching for the UT men's and women's teams. Both teams start the season Aug. 30 at the Belmont Opener in Nashville, Tenn., just like last season.
Tennessee is also slated to run a pair of meets in Gainesville, Fla., with the Mountain Dew Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 14 and the SEC Championships on Nov. 1.
The NCAA Regional Championships this season will be held in Tuscaloosa, Ala., while the national meet will be in Terra Haute, Ind.
2013 Tennessee Cross Country Schedule
Aug. 30: Belmont Opener (Nashville, Tenn.)
Sept. 14: Mountain Dew Gator Cross Country Invitational (Gainesville, Fla.)
Oct. 5: Louisville Classic (Louisville, Ky.)
Oct. 19: Wisconsin Adidas Invitational (Madison, Wis.) (men's team only)
Oct. 19: Crimson Classic (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) (women's team only)
Nov. 1: SEC Championships (Gainesville, Fla.)
Nov. 15: NCAA Regional Championships (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Nov. 23: NCAA Championships (Terra Haute, Ind.)