Sept. 17, 2008
The Tennessee cross country team opens its 2008 season by hosting the 8K UT Invitational Friday evening at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville, Tenn. The first of five regular-season meets for the Vols, the UT Invitational features competition from Georgia Tech, Miami (OH), Tennessee-Chattanooga, Belmont and Bryan College.
The men's race begins at 6:15 p.m. ET and will be preceded by the women's race at 5:30 p.m.
"We are looking forward to getting the season started," Tennessee head coach George Watts said. "We are starting a little later than normal, but the positive there is that it has allowed us to get in some very good preseason training. I feel good about the team's fitness level. We have a very nice, competitive field this year, so the race should be a good early test for us."
The Vols open their 2008 slate on home soil for the first time since the 2003 season, and the meet should give them a chance to run on a similar course to the one planned for the 10K NCAA South Regional in November. Tennessee will serve as the host of that meet, which will also take place at Lambert Acres.
"This year the race is more meaningful because our course is the sight of the regional," Watts said. "We hope to have a solid performance to build on, especially as it pertains to the return trip in November."
Tennessee, picked to finish fifth in the SEC by the league's coaches, will send 11 runners to the start line led by seniors Andrew Press and Steve Tobin, both of whom earned All-SEC honors last season. Returning letter winners Mike Brodsky, Steve Fassino, Chris Kane, Chris Rapp and Michael Spooner will join them. David Clabo also begins his second season running for the Vols after competing in four races a year ago.
Three newcomers will make their debut in orange and white. Ryan Beabout and Chris Bodary are freshmen while sophomore Stuart Chandler is a transfer from Tennessee-Chattanooga.
The Vols are currently ranked sixth in the South Region by the USTFCCCA, one spot behind Belmont. Georgia Tech is ranked 10th in the region and Tennessee-Chattanooga is 14th in the preseason poll.