Oct. 2, 2008
The Tennessee men's cross country team, ranked fifth in the South Region, will travel to Louisville, Ky., Saturday for the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic. The meet is hosted by the University of Louisville and is held at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.
The Vols will line up against the largest and most competitive field they've seen this season. Thirty-four teams will compete including host Louisville and regional foes Belmont, Middle Tennessee State, Vanderbilt, and East Tennessee State.
"The Greater Louisville meet has developed into a very competitive race," Tennessee head coach George Watts said. "The field will consist of more than 200 runners and will help prepare us for the larger fields we will face in the coming weeks. We will be down a little since we won't be running our top three guys, but I expect the guys racing to compete hard and push themselves to a high team finish."
Tennessee will send 11 runners to the start line led by freshmen Chris Bodary and Ryan Beabout, both of whom scored for the Vols at the Colonial Inter-Regional last weekend. Juniors Mike Brodsky, Chris Kane and Chris Rapp will run in their third meet of the season and be joined by sophomores David Clabo and Steve Fassino. Freshman Axel Mostrag and sophomore Stuart Chandler will run for the second time this season, while sophomores Joe Franklin and Justin Hansen will make their season debuts.
The Vols' top three runners will not compete Saturday as they earn a weekend of rest with Pre-Nationals and the SEC Championships looming. They are seniors Andrew Press and Steve Tobin as well as sophomore Michael Spooner. This will give several of Watts' younger runners a chance to compete in a high-level meet.
"The rest of the team will benefit from this level of competition, especially the younger guys or those that have been limited in competitive opportunities," Watts said. "There's no better way to improve fitness and work on your competitiveness than to race. The Louisville course will be a much flatter and faster than our two previous races and will give the guys an opportunity to gain personal-best times."
Tennessee is making the trip to Louisville for the fourth-consecutive season. The Vols finished third in 2007 on the strength of a 15th-place finish from Press. The 2006 team placed second overall with three top-15 finishers, and the 2005 squad won the meet with four top-15 finishers.
This year's race is slated to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET.