Rookie Jake Rainey led Tennessee and finished sixth in his Vol debut.
Sept. 3, 2010
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- University of Tennessee freshman Jake Rainey didn't disappoint in his collegiate debut, securing a sixth-place individual result and pacing the Volunteer cross country team to second in the team standings at the Belmont-VU Opener Friday evening at Percy Warner Park.
Running on the 5,000-meter Vaughn's Creek Course, the in-state product from Clarksville's Rossview High School covered the distance in 15 minutes, 46.48 seconds to count fifth in the scoring (sixth overall) and lead an extremely young UT contingent to a respectable runner-up outcome in a field of 10 squads. The Big Orange tallied 73 points to wind up behind only Middle Tennessee, which accumulated 49 to claim the title. Lipscomb was third, three back of Tennessee at 76, followed by Vanderbilt (77) and Austin Peay (139) rounding out the top five.
"Jake, like everyone in the group, went out a little fast, which was actually part of the plan," UT Men's Coach George Watts said. "He led a little bit of the race and could have kicked and raced better at the end if he hadn't done that. But, I was pleased to see he was willing to take on that challenge. Overall, I was very happy with his race and how he looked."
In addition to the solid performance from the two-time cross country all-stater and media choice as mid-state runner of the year in 2008 and 2009, Watts had a redshirt freshman and three other true freshmen in his scoring five.
After sitting out last season, Daniel Tobin, brother of former Vol Steven Tobin, navigated the Music City layout in 16:02.99 to check in 12th overall (11th scorer). Also nabbing top-20 finishes were true freshmen Tyler Freeman of Knoxville (Bearden) in 16th (15th) at 16:10.42, and Stephen Derlath in 17th (16th) at 16:11.63.
The Vols' fifth scoring runner was Alex McCandless of Sevierville (Sevier County), covering the distance in 16:24.59 to place 27th (26th). Junior Scott March (43rd [36th], 17:01.91) was the only other runner from Rocky Top in action, as Watts held out most of his lineup for the early season tune-up race.
"I was pleasantly surprised and happy for the guys," Watts said. "They were a little nervous, but they actually handled the race plan well and looked strong. They went out a little fast, regrouped and finished well as a unit. I look forward to seeing them come back here in two weeks and see how much they have improved."
As Watts mentioned, the Vols are back in competition on Sept. 18 when they return to Nashville for the Commodore Classic at the same venue. Start time for the 8K men's race is 9 a.m. Central Time.
MEN'S TEAM RESULTS: 1. Middle Tennessee 49; 2. Tennessee 73; 3. Lipscomb 76; 4. Vanderbilt 77; 5. Austin Peay 139; 6. Belmont-Alumni 145; 7. UT Martin 164; 8. Bethel 207; 9. Memphis 217; 10. Trevecca Nazarene 310
VOL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: 1. (5.) Jake Rainey 15:46.48; 12. (11.) Daniel Tobin 16:02.99; 16. (15.) Tyler Freeman 16:10. 42; 17. (16.) Stephen Derlath 16:11.63; 27. (26.) Alex McCandless 16:24.59; 43. (36.) Scott March 17:01.91