Oct. 1, 2005
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Despite running without freshman ace Sarah Bowman, and with top returnee Felicia Guliford a little bit under the weather, the 15th-ranked University of Tennessee women still were able to notch a third-place finish out of 47 teams Saturday morning at the Paul Short Run. Their performance enabled head man J.J. Clark to become the all-time winningest coach in Lady Vol cross country history.
UT, competing without its full roster, accumulated 186 points to finish behind victorious No. 20 Columbia (121) and runner-up No. 26 Georgetown (138) in the 6K event at Lehigh University's 6,000-meter Goodman Campus Course. Maryland grabbed fourth with 226 points, followed by Cornell (230), No. 8 Villanova (258), LaSalle (261), Penn (278), Stony Brook (317) and Bucknell (340) rounding out the top 10 in one of the biggest meets in the northeastern United States. SEC foe, Auburn, which was picked fifth in the preseason league poll, wound up 28th with 712 points.
As for Clark, the fourth-year skipper improved his UT career mark to 336-93-1 after his squad defeated 44 schools and finished behind only two. His victory total vaulted him past Terry Crawford, a Lady Vol Hall of Famer who forged a 303-76-1 slate during her 10-year stint in Knoxville from 1974 to 1983. Saturday's result also improved Tennessee to 57-3 on the current campaign.
"We're coming along well," Clark said. "The progress of the team over the last few weeks shows we're moving in the right direction. We will look forward to having the whole group together, including Felicia and Sarah, in our Oct. 15th meet at Penn State.
"As far as the record goes, what that means is that the young ladies I have had a privilege to coach have been executing their race plans in competition. More important is our focus on continuing our training and getting ready for the championship part of the season."
Pacing the Big Orange for the first time in her collegiate career was junior Katie Flaute (Dayton, Ohio), who crossed the line ninth in a career-best 20 minutes, 45.3 seconds. The personal record was the second straight for Flaute, who uncorked her 5K pinnacle two weekends ago at the Tennessee Invitational.
Also scoring for UT were freshman Leah Soro (Knoxville, Tenn.) in 21st at 21:10.5; senior Carly Matthews (Winston-Salem, N.C.) in 29th at 21:24.6; junior Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.) in 33rd at 21:29.6; and senior Mindy Sullivan (Lubbock, Texas) in 94th at 22:14.4. Freshman Rolanda Bell (Laurelton, N.Y.) ran but did not count toward the scoring total with her 165th-place outcome of 22:56.6. Freshman Kimarra McDonald (Lumberton, N.J.) took part in the women's open division race, finishing 158th out of 283 competitors in a time of 24:51.9.
Guliford, who made her season debut, overcame the effects of a chest cold to join the Big Orange pack and score in the number-four position. It marked the first time since 2002 that the all-region and all-conference performer had not been among UT's top three finishers. Bowman, meanwhile, did not run today after claiming victory in Tennessee's first two outings this season at the Belmont Opener and Tennessee Invitational.
The Lady Vols will have next weekend off before heading to University Park, Pa., on Oct. 15 to compete in the Nittany Lion Invitational at Penn State. That 6K meet will be the final tune-up race before the Lady Vols head into the final stretch, which features the SEC Championships on Oct. 29, the NCAA South Regional on Nov. 12 and the NCAA Championships on Nov. 21.