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Amber Zimmerman led UT in five of six races as a freshman in 2010.

Amber Zimmerman led UT in five of six races as a freshman in 2010.

July 20, 2011

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Two home meets at Lambert Acres Golf Club highlight the 2011 Tennessee cross country schedule, which was announced Wednesday by Big Orange Director of Track & Field and Cross Country J.J. Clark.

The Vols and Lady Vols will play host to the Southeastern Conference Championships on Oct. 31, with the picturesque Lambert Acres course in Maryville serving as the league meet's venue for the first time since 1998. The men's 8000-meter race is slated to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern time, with the women's 6000m affair to follow at 11 a.m. The Vols were fourth last season, while an injury-depleted Lady Vols squad struggled to 12th place.

"We are excited to host the SEC Championships this year," Clark said. "It's always nice to run in front of the home fans, and I know our event and meet management staffs will do a great job in preparing to host that meet."

Lambert Acres, which is in its 14th season as UT's home course, also will be the site for the Tennessee Invitational on Sept. 17. Race times are 9 a.m. for the men's 8K competition and 9:45 a.m. for the women's 5K. The regular season home meet, the first since 2008, marks the 11th time the Tennessee Invite has been held, with the Lady Vols winning or sharing the title seven times and the Vols triumphing on four occasions.

"The home meet will give us an opportunity to run and preview the course, which we always try to do at a championship race venue," Clark said. "It also should attract some of the other SEC schools hoping to do the same thing and provide us some good early season competition. We haven't had home meets the past two seasons, so it is nice to have a couple of them in 2011."

Now in his 10th year at Tennessee but in his first as the coach of the men's cross country team, Clark will make his debut at the Vol helm at the Belmont-VU Opener in Nashville on Sept. 2. Times have not yet been set, but the women will run a 4K trail, while the men traverse 5K. The Vols were second in 2010, while the Lady Vols placed seventh.

"I'm a track coach, and I just see this as having more people to coach in terms of leading the men and women this year," Clark said. "The goal is the same, and that is to win and do the best that you can. We're going to maximize the student-athletes' talents and see how far that takes us."

After hosting the aforementioned Tennessee Invitational on Sept. 17, UT will make the annual trek to Bethlehem, Pa., for the Brooks Paul Short Run at Lehigh University on Sept. 30. Times for the men's 8K and women's 6K races have not been announced. The Vols wound up 13th there a year ago, while the Big Orange women were 38th.

On Oct. 15, the UT men and women will make the trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the Crimson Classic for the first time since 2009. Race times are 8:30 a.m. Central (9:30 ET) for the men's 8K race and 9:15 a.m. (10:15 ET) for the women's 5K run. The Vols were second at the meet two seasons ago, while the Lady Vols came in third.

Following the SEC meet, Tennessee will return to Tuscaloosa for the NCAA South Regional on Nov. 12. No times have been finalized, but the women will run 6K and the men 10K. The Vols placed fourth in 2010 at the regional meet, while the Lady Vols checked in 18th.

If they qualify, the harriers from Rocky Top would advance to the NCAA Championship meet in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 21. Start times have not been announced, but the women and men would again run the 6K and 10K distances.

Fans can follow UT Cross Country on Twitter @Vol_Track and @LadyVol_Track.

2011 Tennessee Cross Country Schedule

Date * Meet Name * Distances * Site * Start Times
Sept. 2 * Belmont-VU Opener * W-4K/M-5K * Nashville, Tenn. * TBA
Sept. 17 * Tennessee Invitational * M-8K/W-5K * Maryville, Tenn. * M - 9 a.m./W - 9:45 a.m. (ET)
Sept. 30 * Brooks Paul Short Run * M-8K/W-6K * Bethlehem, Pa. * TBA
Oct. 15 * Crimson Classic * M-8K/W-5K * Tuscaloosa, Ala. * M - 8:30 a.m./W - 9:15 a.m. (CT)
Oct. 31 * SEC Championships * M-8K/W-6K * Maryville, Tenn. * M - 10 a.m./W - 11 a.m. (ET)
Nov. 12 * NCAA South Regional * W-6K/M-10K * Tuscaloosa, Ala. * TBA
Nov. 21 * NCAA Championships * W-6K/M-10K * Terre Haute, Ind. * TBA

All Dates & Times Subject To Change; M - Men; W - Women



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