Sept. 18, 2009
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- With junior college transfer Peter Sigilai leading the way, the University of Tennessee men's cross country team opened its 2009 season with a second-place finish at the Crimson Classic on Friday evening.
Sigilai, running in his first race as a Vol after transferring from Rend Lake (Ill.) Community College, crossed the finish line in eighth place with a time of 25 minutes, 22.80 seconds on the 8,000-meter course at Alabama's Harry Pritchett Running Park. That impressive debut helped the Big Orange tally 55 points and finish second behind 10th-ranked Alabama, which won with 34. Bama's Tyson David claimed the individual title in 24:25.90 after unattached runner Elkanah Kibet was disqualified for cutting the course.
No. 13 Auburn, which like Tennessee did not field its full lineup, settled for third with 76 points. Belmont was fourth with 153, while Georgia Tech rounded out the top five with 161 points.
The only school with all of its scoring runners among the top 20 (actually top 18), Tennessee's one through five spread was only 29 seconds. Sticking close behind Sigilai were junior Mike Brodsky in 12th (9th) at 25:34.90, freshman Leoule Degfae in 15th (12th) at 25:41.90, junior Steve Fassino in 16th (13th) in 25:48.60 and sophomore Chris Bodary in 17th (14th) at 25:51.70.
"I was very pleased with the outcome of our first competition," 15th-year UT men's coach George Watts said. "Our 30-second spread bodes well for the rest of the cross country season, especially when we get to the conference meet and the 10K distance at regionals.
"Peter did an excellent job for us, leading the way in his first NCAA Division I cross country race. I was equally impressed with freshman `Lee' Degfae running as our third man in his debut."
Also competing were junior Stuart Chandler in 31st (27th) at 26:25.40, sophomore Joe Franklin in 34th (30th) at 26:31.20, junior David Clabo in 38th at 26:41.60, redshirt freshman Spenser Tipton in 53rd at 27:08.10 and redshirt freshman Daniel Porter in 68th at 27:44.30. There were 125 runners in the 16-team field.
"We need to continue to work hard, because we have two big meets coming up in back-to-back weekends," Watts said. "We can't afford to relax. I am looking forward to our next competition at William & Mary and running another solid race."
The Vols are back in competition next Saturday, as they compete in the Colonial Inter-Regional Challenge in Williamsburg, Va. Race time for the 8K meet is 9:30 a.m. ET.
MEN'S TEAM RESULTS (TOP 10):
1. Alabama 34
2. Tennessee 55
3. Auburn 76
4. Belmont 153
5. Georgia Tech 161
6. East Tennessee State 164
7. Kennesaw State 165
8. Chattanooga 196
9. Mississippi Valley State 258
10. Alabama State 282.
VOL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS:
1. Tyson David, Alabama 24:25.90
8. Peter Sigilai 25:22.80
12. Mike Brodsky 25:34.90
15. Leoule Degfae 25:41.90
16. Steve Fassino 25:48.60
17. Chris Bodary 25:51.70
31. Stuart Chandler 26:25.40
34. Joe Franklin 26:31.20
38. David Clabo 26:41.60
53. Spenser Tipton 27:08.10
68. Daniel Porter 27:44.30.