Amber Zimmerman, who paced UT during the season-opener, returns to Nashville for Saturday's Commodore Classic.
Sept. 16, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The second meet of the 2010 season will be on tap for the Tennessee men's and women's cross country teams on Saturday, as the Big Orange harriers make their way back to Nashville for the Commodore Classic at Percy Warner Park. The Vols will take part in an 8,000-meter race at 9 a.m. (10 a.m. ET) Central time, while the Lady Vols run the 5,000-meter trail at 10 a.m. CT (11 ET).
In addition to UT, schools expected to be on hand include Belmont, Bethel, Blue Mountain, Chattanooga, Freed-Hardeman, Lipscomb, Middle Tennessee, Murray State, Rhodes, Southeast Missouri, Tennessee State (Women only), Trevecca Nazarene, University of the South, Union and Vanderbilt.
The Lady Vols will add junior Elizabeth Altizer and newcomers Erica Moore, Kianna Ruff, and Nijgia Snapp to a squad that placed seventh two weekends ago at the Belmont-VU Opener and stands at No. 6 in the South Region this week. Top returnees Brittany Sheffey and Chanelle Price, though, will not run and are slated to open their campaigns at the Brooks Paul Short Run.
Tennessee's top female returnee in week one is slated to compete. Rookie Amber Zimmerman enters her second college meet after pacing the Big Orange in her initial race with a 35th-place finish out of 120 runners. The product of Knoxville's Webb School covered the 4K course in 15:25.47.
"We're just looking forward to running a little stronger and a little better than last week," UT Director of Track & Field/Women's Cross Country Coach J.J. Clark. "We're going to insert a couple more student-athletes, including Elizabeth Altizer, into the lineup and see if we can run a stronger team race than we did two weekends ago. We want to continually get better as time goes on.
The Vols, who stand fourth in the USTFCCCA South Region Rankings this week, are coming off a runner-up performance in week one at the Belmont-VU Opener on Sept. 3. They were led at that meet by freshman Jake Rainey, who fashioned a sixth-place finish out of 89 runners in 15 minutes, 46.48 seconds and helped a freshman-dominated Tennessee lineup to a second-place result in the team standings at the same venue the Big Orange will tackle on Saturday.
Rainey (Clarksville, Tenn./Rossview H.S.) and friends will be bolstered this week by having veterans such as three-time SEC honoree Michael Spooner, Chris Bodary, Steve Fassino and Chris Rapp competing alongside them. In all, 12 Vols are slated to make the trip.
"Although normally we would be racing on our home course this weekend (there is no Tennessee Invitational this season), we look forward to this Saturday's race at the Commodore Classic, which is run on the same site as our first meet," UT Men's Cross Country Coach George Watts said. "We will have six guys racing in their initial competition of the season. I expect solid performances from each of them.
"The young guys will benefit from having raced on the course two weeks ago, and it will be exciting to see how much they have improved in a short period of time. We will continue to hold out Peter Sigilai and Joe Franklin, and they should be ready to go by our next meet."