Sept. 7, 2002
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Tennessee's cross country team uncorked its season with a third-place finish in a strong four-team field at the 8K adidas Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The presently unranked Volunteers snuck past 13th-ranked Arizona State with a 70-point effort built on the strength of all five Tennessee scorers finishing in the top 20 and maintaining a tight pack.
Perennial power and seventh-ranked N.C. State won the quad with a 32-point effort, 10 points ahead of homestanding and 25th-ranked Notre Dame. N.C. State captured the team title by placing all five scoring runners in the top 10, effectively whittling down its point total. The Irish boasted the individual champion, however, as Todd Mobley crossed the finish line in 24:51.
"I was pleased with the effort for our first meet," cross country coach George Watts said. "We had a very good five-man spread of 37 seconds. I'd like to see Tim Kelly be a little further up the list than he was today. We need him to be running a little better. We're looking forward to next week's home meet and improving."
Senior Rob Cloutier led the orange contingent with a seventh-place, 25:12 clocking. The Ballston Lake, N.Y., native lopped 33 seconds off his previous career-best 8K time at the 2001 Auburn Invitational. The seventh-place finish marked Cloutier's best effort since a third-place finish at the Tennessee Intercollegiate in 2000.
Co-captain and senior Scott DeFilippis followed with an 11th-place finish and 25:27 time, also a career-best opener by six seconds. Senior Patrick Gildea crossed the line in 25:34 to take 13th, his highest finish as a Vol. Opening his junior season, Kelly placed 19th in 25:46 to serve as Tennessee's fourth man. Rounding out Tennessee's five scorers, junior Steve Klein followed just three ticks behind in 25:49 to earn 20th and better his career-best 8K time by 17 seconds.
Junior Keith Kimmons took 29th in 26:06. Sophomore Matthew Lapp finished 32nd in 26:15. Redshirt freshman Ed Davis followed closely in 26:20 to place 33rd.
Tennessee's collective focus turns to defending home turf at the Tennessee Invitational Friday at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville. The field for the 6:30 p.m. collegiate men's race will be announced next week as it is finalized. The Volunteers return to a competitive setting at Lambert Acres for the first time since 2000 because the 2001 home meet was canceled. Additionally, Tennessee and Lambert Acres also host the South Regional Nov. 16, the qualifying meet for the NCAA Championships.