Oct. 3, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- University of Tennessee senior Sarah Bowman uncorked a Southeastern Conference-leading time for 6,000 meters to pace the 29th-ranked Lady Vol cross country team to a sixth-place finish out of 43 schools Friday in the Brown race at the Brooks Paul Short Run.
With UT making its sixth consecutive appearance at the meet, the three-time All-SEC performer from Warrenton, Va., covered Lehigh University's Goodman Campus Course in 20 minutes, 28 seconds to finish 11th out of a field of 301 runners. Bowman, who ran the course 23 seconds faster than she did a year ago, paced the Big Orange for the second straight weekend and led her squad to the finish line for the 11th time in her career and for the 10th occasion in her last 11 races.
That performance helped Tennessee tally 198 points and improve two spots from its finish here in 2007. Ninth-ranked West Virginia, on the strength of an individual victory from Mary-Louise Asselin in 19:38, claimed the team title with 47 points, followed by Villanova (78), No. 16 Baylor (94), No. 12 Wisconsin (105), Syracuse (150), UT, Guelph of Canada (246), Richmond (261), Cornell (278) and Navy (292) rounding out the top 10. The Big Orange's won-lost record moved to 49-6 on the campaign, leaving UT Head Coach J.J. Clark just 17 victories shy of the 700-win mark.
"Our team ran well," Clark said. "The quality of the meet was good this year, with top-15 type teams in West Virginia, Villanova, Wisconsin and Baylor here. I just compare (our performance today) to what we did last year and where we were two weeks ago (at the Tennessee Invitational), and I am pleased with that. Hopefully we can continue to improve at that rate.
"Sarah was ninth a year ago, but she ran over 20 seconds faster this year. That shows the quality of the field this time around. A lot of the youngsters on our team ran faster coming through the 5K mark today than they did two weekends ago, including Ally Colvin in the junior varsity race, so overall it was a good outing."
Joining Bowman in the scoring five for Tennessee and showing the biggest improvement from one season to the next for the Lady Vols was junior Jackie Areson (Delray Beach, Fla.), who grabbed 27th place in 21:07. That effort was a minute and eight seconds quicker than she covered the distance at this meet in 2007.
Contributing to the scoring cause along with Bowman and Areson for Team Orange were sophomore Brittany Sheffey (Bellport, N.Y.), who turned in a career-best 21:17 to place 33rd, junior Phoebe Wright (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), who had a personal best of 21:43 to finish 59th, and senior Rolanda Bell (Laurelton, N.Y.), who navigated the course in 21:49 to wind up 68th.
Two other UT runners competed in the Brown race but did not figure into the scoring for the Lady Vols. In her return to her old stomping grounds, freshman Chanelle Price (Easton, Pa.) placed 94th in 22:04, while fellow rookie Elizabeth Altizer (Bartlett, Tenn.) covered the distance in 23:36 to place 232nd.
Running in the College Women's Junior Varsity race were freshmen Ally Colvin (Maryville, Tenn.) and Elizabeth Tiller (Tuscaloosa, Ala.). Colvin turned in an effort of 22:38 to place 32nd out of 368 runners, while Tiller was 218th in 25:11. Senior Leah Soro (Knoxville, Tenn.) made the trip but did not compete after turning her ankle while running the course on Thursday.
Tennessee will return to action in two weeks, as the Lady Vols head back to the Keystone State to compete in the Penn State National Invitational in University Park, Pa., on Oct. 17. The 6K race is slated to get underway at 11 a.m. Eastern Time.