Sept. 23, 2009
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After responding with a solid season-opening performance at the Crimson Classic last weekend, the Tennessee men's cross country team faces its second test of the season on Saturday at the Colonial Inter-Regional Challenge in Williamsburg, Va.
The Vols, ranked sixth in the NCAA South Region, hope to continue building their résumé for post-season consideration as they compete at William & Mary's 8,000-meter Eastern State Hospital Course for the second straight season. Start time for the men's race, which also features the 15th-ranked Tribe and several other schools from the Virginia-D.C. area, has been changed to 10 a.m. Eastern Time.
UT, which finished second to No. 10 Alabama and one spot ahead of No. 13 Auburn in Tuscaloosa last Friday evening, hopes to improve upon a third-place effort at the Colonial in 2008. Host William & Mary, then ranked No. 23, captured the team title a year ago with 32 points, followed by Michigan State (39) and then UT, with 71.
The Vols return seven runners who competed in Williamsburg last season, including three who contributed to the scoring tally. Among those is junior Michael Spooner, who finished sixth overall and was the Big Orange's No. 2 scorer in a time of 25 minutes, 11 seconds. The Springfield, Va., native is slated to make his season debut this weekend.
Other returning scorers from a year ago include senior Mike Brodsky, who was 20th overall and third on the team in 25:52.0, and junior Chris Bodary, who crossed the line 27th and was his team's fourth finisher in 26:04.5. Senior Chris Kane (38th, 26:44.6), junior David Clabo (43rd, 26:54.8), junior Steve Fassino (60th, 27:44.8) and senior Chris Rapp (63rd, 27:46.2) ran but did not count toward the scoring tally in 2008.
"We look forward to our next competition in the Colonial Inter-Regional Challenge," 15th-year UT men's cross country coach George Watts said. "With seven guys returning to this meet (from 2008), it will provide us a chance to see how much progress we have made from last year. We will be up against some strong teams on a very challenging course, and this race will provide several of our Virginians a chance to run in front of family and friends."
Besides Spooner and Alexandria-native Watts, other Virginia products on the roster include freshman Leoule Degfae (Alexandria), redshirt freshman Daniel Porter (Fredericksburg) and freshman Daniel Tobin (Springfield). Degfae was UT's number-three runner in his debut last weekend, placing 15th overall at the Crimson Classic in 25:41.90. Porter also ran in Tuscaloosa, finishing 68th overall in 27:44.30.