Michael Spooner was an All-SEC honoree for the second straight season.
Oct. 31, 2009
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
OXFORD, Miss. -- Junior Michael Spooner turned in an All-SEC performance, and rookie Leoule Degfae made the SEC All-Freshman Team, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Tennessee men's cross country team from a sixth-place finish at the SEC Championships on Saturday morning.
For the second consecutive season, Spooner made the All-SEC Team, cranking out a clocking of 25 minutes, 7.60 seconds to finish 11th on the 8,000-meter Ole Miss Golf Course on a Halloween morning with ideal weather conditions.
The junior from Springfield, Va., ran with the lead group through two miles and moved into third position at one point on a course that was soaked, however, from an overabundance of rain this fall and all day on Friday. He was unable to maintain pace with the top group but still managed to lead his team to the finish line for the third time this season and for the fifth occasion in his last seven races.
The Vols tallied 142 points to wind up one spot shy of where they were predicted to finish in the preseason coaches poll. No. 6 Alabama won its second straight title, tallying 56 points to hold off No. 28 Arkansas (61) and No. 24 Auburn (86). Florida (120) and Georgia (133) also finished ahead of Tennessee.
Joining Spooner in the scoring five were junior Peter Sigilai, Degfae, senior Mike Brodsky and junior Steve Fassino. Sigilai covered the course in 25:44.72 to place 22nd, followed by Degfae in 33rd at 26:06.12, Brodsky in 34th at 26:06.62 and Fassino in 43rd at 26:36.79. All but Spooner were first-time contributors to the Big Orange team tally at the conference meet.
"Congratulations to Mike for earning All-SEC honors for the second year in a row and to Leoule Degfae for earning All-Freshman honors."
Competing but not counting toward the squad's total were sophomore Chris Bodary (51st, 27:00.54), sophomore Tom Gilmartin (62nd, 27:31.04), sophomore Joe Franklin (72nd, 28:01.33) and junior David Clabo (did not finish).
"We will regroup and make every effort to improve our performance in our next meet at the regional," Watts said."
Tennessee will be off next weekend before returning to action on Nov. 14 at the NCAA South Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The men's race is scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m. Central time.
MEN'S TEAM SCORES: 1. Alabama 56, 2. Arkansas 61, 3. Auburn 86, 4. Florida 120, 5. Georgia 133, 6. Tennessee 142, 7. Kentucky 152, 8. Mississippi State 220, 9. Ole Miss 249, 10. Vanderbilt 282, 11. LSU 321.
VOL INDIVIDUAL FINISHES: 1. Barnabas Kirui, Ole Miss., 24:24.75, 11. Michael Spooner, 25:07.60, 22. Peter Sigilai, 25:44.72, 33. Leoule Degfae, 26:06.12, 43. 34. Michael Brodsky 26:06.62, 43. Steve Fassino, 26:36.79, 46. Chris Kane, 26:48.02, 51. Chris Bodary, 27:00.54, 62. Tom Gilmartin, 27:31.04, 72. Joe Franklin, 28:01.33, dnf David Clabo.