Women Tie for XC Win at Florida

Sept. 14, 2013



GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A strong team effort lifted the Tennessee women's cross country team into in a tie for first on Saturday morning at the Mountain Dew Invitational.

Sophomore Alexis Panisse led the charge with a fifth-place individual finish in the 5k race as the Lady Vols tied Auburn for first in the team standings with 71 points. Florida finished third with 76 points.

In the men's 8k race, the UT men finished in third place with 55 points, behind host Florida (33 points) and Auburn (50). Peter Okwera, Stephen Derlath and Kyle Walter placed in the top 11 for the Vols.

"We had five SEC teams and 15 teams total in the field, and we came out strong on both sides against those teams," Tennessee director of track and field/cross country J.J. Clark said. "We're heading back home now for a good solid weeks of training."

The Tennessee women's team put together a much more complete team performance than in its season opener two weeks ago at Belmont. Five UT runners finished in the top 29, compared with five in the top 51 in the last meet.

That improvement led to some hardware: a gold, gator-shaped trophy.

Panisse led the way by taking fifth in 21 minutes, 33.37 seconds. Fresh off her team-leading career debut at Belmont, freshman Emily Williams followed that up by taking 11th in Gainesville (21.52.05).

From there, Chelsea Blaase took 16th (22:09.62), Kelsey Kane was a split-second behind in 18th (22:09.62) and Patavia Lowery finished in 29th (22:30.83).

"On the women's side, it was obviously a better group run than Belmont," Clark said. "That's the type of progress we have to make if we're going to have an impact on our league. Panisse, Emily, Kelsey, Patavia and Chelsea all ran very solid."

Florida Gulf Coast's Kelly Perzanowski won the women's race in 20:45.06.

Just like their season opener two weeks ago at the Belmont Opener, all five of the scorers for the Tennessee men finished in the top 25.

Two Vols finished in the top 10. Junior Peter Okwera finished fifth in 24:27.98, and senior Stephen Derlath crossed the finish line 10 seconds later in 24:37.45 to take sixth place. It was Okwera's second top-10 finish of the young season, having won the Belmont Opener.

The Vols' three other scorers included: Kyle Walter (11th place, 24:45.17), Austin Whitelaw (17th, 25:04.95) and Daniel Tobin (21st, 25:12.62).

"I thought that the men competed well," Clark said. "We know that we have a ways to go, but we're making positive progress as a group. We have two weeks now to get some good work in before we go to Louisville."

Jimmy Clark of Florida won the men's race in 23:53.78 with teammate Mark Parrish taking second.

In addition to getting another good meet under their belts, Tennessee also gained valuable experience racing at the Mark Bostick Golf Course, which will be the welcoming all the conference schools back for the SEC Championships on Nov. 1.

"The objective of the meet was to come here and view the course, and we got a chance to run on it," Clark said. "We got a feel of it for what it will be like for the SEC meet. It will give us a good opportunity to visualize when we come back."

Florida Mountain Dew Invitational
Gainesville, Fla.
Men's 8k Results
Team Standings

1. Florida - 33 points
2. Auburn - 50
3. Tennessee - 55
4. North Florida - 143
5. Florida Gulf Coast - 149
6. Miami - 157
7. LSU - 201
8. Florida A&M - 202
9. Florida Atlantic - 259
10. South Florida - 274
11. Stetson - 315

UT Individual Performances
5. Peter Okwera, 24: 27.98
6. Stephen Derlath, 24:37.45
11. Kyle Walter, 24:45.17
17. Austin Whitelaw, 25:04.95
21. Daniel Tobin, 25:12.62
27. J.R. Creekmore, 25:28.95
36. Jack Little, 25:41.98
116. Jeremy Dickie, 27:36.54
160. Breon Dixon, 29:13.29

Women's 6k Results
Team Standings

1. Tennessee - 71 points
1. Auburn - 71
3. Florida - 76
4. South Carolina - 109
5. South Florida - 154
6. North Florida - 166
7. UCF - 198
8. Florida Atlantic - 212
9. Florida A&M - 225
10. LSU - 246
11. Florida Gulf Coast - 248
12. Miami - 266
13. Stetson - 312

UT Individual Performances
5. Alexis Panisse, 21:33.37
11. Emily Williams, 21:52.05
16. Chelsea Blaase, 22:09.62
17. Kelsey Kane, 22:09.82
29. Patavia Lowery, 22:30.83
44. Amirah Johnson, 22:50.89
74. Kianna Ruff, 23:33.22
78. Caroline Duer, 23:41.81
155. Brittney Jackson, 25:32.92





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