Oct. 4, 2003
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Tennessee's cross country squad raced to its first victory of the 2003 season on a powerful performance Saturday morning at the 8K Cardinal Classic on the University of Louisville's Shelby Campus. The Volunteers ran past second-place Eastern Kentucky 32-80 in the 18-team meet, by far the largest field Tennessee has faced this season. All 11 Vols who had previously competed this season ran season-best times by 20 seconds or more.
Although he didn't count in the team score because he was a non-collegiate runner, James Mutuse of Hager's Hobblers ran to the individual win in 24:30.52. However, Vol Tim Kelly broke the tape in 25:06.66, fourth overall and first among collegians, in 25:06.66.
"Almost everyone ran well," head coach George Watts said. "Nate Jansen had to drop out [minor injury] or I think we would have been even better. Overall, it was a nice performance. We had a 46-second spread for our top six guys, and I think it would have been top seven with Nate. We ran better. Everyone ran competitively. Most of the guys probably ran PRs [personal records] for 8K. It's nice to get a win under our belt. The guys have been working hard and they were excited about it."
As mentioned, Kelly led the Tennessee contingent. His leading time among the collegiate runners sliced 1:37 off his previous season best. Co-captain Matthew Lapp remained steady with a fifth-place, second among collegians, finish in 25:12.15, 39 seconds faster than his previous season best. Lapp hasn't finished lower than second in the Tennessee pack all season. Co-captain Steve Klein continued improving with his 13th-place, seventh for team-scoring purposes, 25:35.07 finish, a full 55 seconds faster than his previous season best. Freshman Jeff Day continues to make his case for inclusion on the travel squad with a 16th-place, 10th with regard to team scoring, time of 25:45.42, a 30-second improvement. Meanwhile, Ed Davis wrapped up Tennessee's scoring with his 19th-place, 12th with regard to team scoring, 25:51.52 effort, a 20-second improvement.
"I'm really proud of Tim Kelly, Matthew Lapp and Jeff Day," Watts said. "Kelly ran a really smart race and made up lots of ground the last two miles. Matthew was our leader most of the race. Jeff has been a pleasant surprise. Breaking into our top five twice [at Louisville and two weeks ago at Navy] is impressive for a freshman. I'm looking forward to our next race next week at Auburn." Freshman Dusty Miller finished 20th in 25:52.42, a 22-second season-best improvement. Meanwhile, Doug Brown was the seventh Vol to finish with his 30th-place, 26:09.02 time, a full 1:13 faster than his previous best. Brian Mills finished 31st in 26:09.88, a 1:08 improvement. However, Kenny Schappert notched the best improvement of the day, slicing a whopping 2:35 off his previous season best to earn 42nd in 26:45.15. Scott Shoemaker finished 45th in 26:53.75, 1:28 faster than his season-opening effort. Freshman Chris Platt dropped 48 seconds off by finishing 49th in 26:59.65.
Marc Sylvester and Paul Cross both competed in their first collegiate cross country race. An All-America 800m man on the track, Watts added another zero to the distance as Sylvester finished the 8,000m race in 27:24.63 to earn 62nd. Cross, a freshman 800m prospect, took 67th in 27:28.06.
The Volunteers head south for the Auburn Invitational Friday evening before taking three weeks to further refine the orange pack before the championship portion of the schedule begins in November.
1. TENNESSEE 32, 2. Eastern Kentucky 80, 3. Louisville 105, 4. Morehead State 147, 5. Samford 177, 6. Alabama-Huntsville 182, 7. Evansville 189, 8. Kentucky 190, 9. Bellamarine 206, 10-t. Centre 251, 10-t. Kentucky 'B' squad 251, 12. Danville Area Community College 353, 13. Marian 385, 14. MTSU 421, 15. Campbellsville 423, 16. Lindsey Wilson 490, 17. Georgetown College 498, 18. Kentucky State 545.
VOL FINISHES (Finishes for team scoring in parentheses--applies to Tennessee's top seven runners)
1. James Mutuse, Hager's Hobblers 24:30.52; 4.(1.) Tim Kelly, Tenn. 25:06.66; 5.(2.) Matthew Lapp, Tenn. 25:12.15; 13.(7.) Steve Klein, Tenn. 25:35.07; 16.(10.) Jeff Day, Tenn. 25:45.42; 19.(12.) Ed Davis, Tenn. 25:51.52; 20.(13.) Dusty Miller, Tenn. 25:52.42; 30.(21.) Doug Brown, Tenn. 26:09.02; 31. Brian Mills, Tenn. 26:09.88; 42. Kenny Schappert, Tenn. 26:45.15; 45. Scott Shoemaker, Tenn. 26:53.75; 49. Chris Platt, Tenn. 26:59.65; 62. Marc Sylvester, Tenn. 27:24.63; 67. Paul Cross, Tenn. 27:28.06; DNF--Nate Jansen (Injury).