Sept. 16, 2005
MARYVILLE, Tenn. -- The Volunteers defeated Runners Market Racing Team with a perfect score of 15-50, cross country's best possible dual-meet outcome, at the Tennessee Invitational Friday evening at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville, Tenn. Running on the 7.3K course, Tennessee swept the top-10 spots en route to its second team victory in as many tries in 2005.
Zach Sabatino opened his season in a golden way, taking victor's laurels unpressed with a 22-minute, 55-second time and a 32-second winning margin. While the Volunteer effort was dominating, head coach George Watts would like to see Tennessee's scoring five grouped tighter. Tennessee's scoring spread was 1:18 for the meet.
"All in all, it was a good effort today," Watts said. "Zach Sabatino looked the best he's ever looked. Dusty (Miller), Ben (Lukowski), Matt (Piccarello) and Tyler (DeVault) kept their rhythm the entire race and all finished well over the last 400 meters. In order for us to be a national-qualifying team we need to close the gap on Zach. The competition from here on out becomes much more important. We look forward to next week's competition (the Greater Louisville Classic), where we will have more than 30 teams competing."
The morning rain gave way to a beautiful, but warm, evening featuring a moderate breeze. The precipitation softened the course but did not appear to hinder traction on the home course of the Vols.
As was his custom most of last season, Sabatino led the Tennessee pack through the hills and valleys of Lambert Acres at the foothills of Smoky Mountains. The Vol co-captain took over the lead early and never surrendered it to earn his second cross country title as a Vol. He also won the Old Timers Classic in Bowling Green, Ky., last season.
"I feel sharp for this part of the season, but not nearly as sharp as I should be in November," Sabatino said. "This meet was a good indicator of where we are fitness-wise from the summer. We're going to have to work on closing the spread a little bit. Coming off a tough Wednesday workout it was good to see the way everyone competed. I think everyone looked good. We have until the SEC meet at the end of October to get ready. I think we'll be in good shape by then."
After leading Tennessee last week, Knoxville West grad Miller took second, a spot higher than last Friday's effort, with a time of 23:27. Lukowski opened his season with a third-place, 23:32 worksheet. Piccarello raced to a respectable fourth-place finish in 24:09. DeVault bookended Tennessee's scoring five with a fifth-place, 24:13 race.
Farragut grad Andy Baksa finished sixth in 24:23. In his season opener, Chris Platt finished seventh in 24:27. Ed Davis finished one second back to take eighth in 24:28. Jeff Day opened his season with a ninth-place, 24:34 time. Steve Tobin wrapped up the Volunteer sweep of the top 10 with a 10th-place, 24:37 finish. Doug Brown finished 13th in 25:33. Brian Mills placed 15th after clocking a 26:28 time.
After opening the season with two meets featuring small fields, Tennessee changes gears for the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 24.
|2005 TENNESSEE INVITATIONAL|
Sept. 16 at Lambert Acres Golf Club, Maryville, Tenn.
Men's 7.3K Race Results
|12.||Tim Kelly||Runners Market||25:22|
|17.||Daniel Julian||Runners Market||27:13|
|19.||Patrick Gildea||Runners Market||29:13|
|20.||Bobby Holcombe||Runners Market||29:14|
|21.||Elijah Shekinah||Runners Market||29:15|
|WEATHER: Sunny, slight breeze, 85 degrees|
|COURSE CONDITION: Softened by morning rain, but firm|