Sept. 27, 2001
Tennessee's cross country team hits the road again as it joins the Auburn Invitational Saturday morning at the Indian Pines Golf Course in Auburn, Ala. As they did last week, the Volunteers will again race against a huge field as 33 teams are preliminarily entered in the meet. Tennessee will be eyeing Southeastern Conference foes 21st-ranked Alabama, host Auburn, LSU and Vanderbilt as the SEC Championships will be held on the same course Oct. 29.
"The Auburn Invitational will give us the opportunity to improve in three different areas," cross country coach George Watts said. "First, we need to improve the spread of our top five. Secondly, we can get better in running the middle of the race. Lastly, it will give us the opportunity to run at the site of the SEC Championships."
Watts is traveling with 10 Vol harriers, nine of whom competed in the Great American Cross Country Festival in Rock Hill, S.C., last Friday. Tennessee's top-five scoring runners from last race (Captain Ryan Demers, Tim Kelly, Rob Cloutier, Scott DeFilippis and Keith Kimmons) will suit up for the Vols. Additionally, Steve Klein, Matthew Lapp, Clay Wiggins and Paul Hallman will attempt to break into the Tennessee scoring five. In his first outing as a Volunteer, true freshman Kenny Schappert will substitute for Colin Rochford.
"With one race under our belt, I expect us to be more comfortable early in the race," Watts said. "Since this course is similar to last week's course, we should get a good indicator of how much we've improved."