Nov. 16, 2001
Tennessee's cross country squad joins a field of 31 of the nation's elite teams for the NCAA Championships in Greenville, S.C., Monday. The Volunteers take to the 10K Furman University Golf Course for their last meet of the season. Tennessee competes as a team for the first time at the NCAA Championships since 1998.
"We are excited and honored to be competing in the NCAA Cross Country Championships," cross country coach George Watts said. "This team has worked hard and earned the right to compete. We have run our best races during the championship part of the season, and I expect the same this meet. In terms of strategy, it is more important than ever that we concern ourselves with our race plan and individual efforts. Often in this race the team that runs within themselves will have a positive outcome. As always, we hope to improve from the last race and finish the season on a high note."
The Volunteers stick by their successful roster from the NCAA South Regionals. Juniors Rob Cloutier, Scott DeFilippis, Ryan Demers and Pat Gildea and sophomores Tim Kelly, Keith Kimmons and Steve Klein join freshman Matthew Lapp to comprise the Tennessee travel squad. Kimmons draws alternate duty as the Vols travel eight and run seven. The top five Vol finishes count toward the team score.
"I am excited to see what the future holds for this cross country team, not only at the NCAAs, but next year," Watts said. "We have our entire team returning, and they have learned that hard work and goal setting pays off. The experience we gain this year sets us up well for the future."
While the Vols have strung together their best races of the season in the last two outings, Tennessee's only race this year at the Furman University Golf Course, at the Oct. 13 8K Furman Invitational, resulted in its only non-top-five performance of the year--21st of 35 teams.
Tennessee's last team
NCAA finals team performance in 1998 produced a 21st-place finish in Lawrence,
Kansas. In 1999, the last time a Vol ran in the NCAAs as an individual, Anthony
Famiglietti started strong but slowed in the stretch to earn 173rd in a field
of 254 in Bloomington, Ind. Tennessee's best finish at the NCAA finals
came in 1972 in Houston, Texas as Doug Brown and company brought the program's
first NCAA title back to Knoxville. Alf Holmberg's (1951) and Brown's
(1972) runner-up NCAA finishes stand as the best in the history of the Tennessee
program at the championship meet.