Oct. 15, 2005
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Katie Flaute and Felicia Guliford posted top-15 individual finishes in a large field of runners to pace the 18th-ranked University of Tennessee women's cross country team to a third-place outcome Saturday morning in the "A" division of the Penn State University National Invitational.
The Lady Vols, now 88-5 on the season, tallied 120 points to finish behind No. 1 Duke, which logged an impressive low score of 22 in the 34-team competition. Providence, ranked 20th, placed second with 103 points. Coming in behind UT and closing out the top 10 were Penn (217), Ohio State (238), Kentucky (240), James Madison (260), Cornell and Akron (263) and No. 29 Maryland (276).
Flaute, a junior from Dayton, Ohio, covered the 6,000-meter PSU Blue Course in 21 minutes, 14 seconds, and logged a 12th-place individual performance out of 259 participants. It marked the second straight meet and second time in her career that she has led the Big Orange to the finish line. Guilford wasn't far behind Flaute in only her second appearance of the 2005 campaign. The junior from Gallup, N.M., was one-second and two places in back of her teammate, taking 14th in a season-best of 21:15.
"Katie has made consistent progress over the past three years," UT Head Coach J.J. Clark said. "There have been no big jumps, but she has incrementally dropped her times each season. It's a good story of hard work paying off.
"Felicia is moving back into position after training through our first two meets and then battling some congestion issues at our last race. I look forward to watching her continue to develop over the next couple of weeks."
Flaute and Guliford got scoring help from freshman Leah Soro (Knoxville, Tenn.), whose 21:40 readout placed her 26th overall (23rd scorer), hitting the tape third among orange-clads for the fourth meet in a row. Senior Carly Matthews (Winston-Salem, N.C.) continued to be a model of consistency, holding down the No. 4 spot for the third time in four races with a 21:53 effort that was good for 31st (28th).
Rookie Sarah Bowman (Warrenton, Va.), who ran today in her first 6K race as a collegian, closed out Tennessee's scoring five with a clocking of 22:11 that earned her 46th place (43rd). Bowman, who is noted more as a middle distance runner, paced the Lady Vols in 4K and 5K races in the first two meets this season. The September Lady Vol Athlete of the Month has two weeks of training to gear up for another 6K race -- the Southeastern Conference Championship -- that will have a little more riding on it.
Other Tennessee finishers Saturday included freshman Rolanda Bell (Laurelton, N.Y.) in 107th (96th) at 23:03, senior Mindy Sullivan (Lubbock, Texas) in 116th (105th) at 23:11 and freshman Kimarra McDonald (Lumberton, N.J.) at 26:03. McDonald's placing was not included in the final results.
"We had some good, positive things happen today," Clark said. "Felicia is back, Katie and Leah once again demonstrated consistency, and Carly looked very solid. There's room for improvement for Sarah, but the main thing is she got through today in good health.
"All the tune-ups are done. We just have to continue our training the next two weeks and gear up for the conference meet."
The SEC Championships will take place Oct. 29 at Hilton Field, located on the Fort Jackson Military Base in Columbia, S.C. Race times for the men and women are 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., respectively. The meet was originally slated to be hosted by LSU and contested in Baton Rouge, La., but relief efforts related to Hurricane Katrina left too few available hotel rooms in the city for competing teams. Due to that logistical situation, the SEC opted to move the meet to Columbia, with the University of South Carolina serving as host.