Sept. 30, 2009
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee women's cross country team will step up to the championship race distance this week, as the Lady Vols head to Bethlehem, Pa., for the 6,000-meter Brooks Paul Short Run on Friday morning.
The meet, which will be contested on Lehigh University's Goodman Campus Course, features a variety of races. The UT women, who will be lining up for their first 6K event of the campaign, will be competing in the Gold Race at 11:45 a.m. More than 40 teams from the northeastern United States and other regions of the country will be on hand to participate, with Tennessee taking part for the seventh consecutive season.
"The Paul Short course is a challenging, but fair, course," Lady Vol Cross Country Coach J.J. Clark said. "We're just going up there, trying to group our top five runners together better and hoping to get our top three (senior Jackie Areson, junior Brittany Sheffey, senior Katie Van Horn) running more as a group. I'm looking forward to seeing how we fare.
"Jackie has led us the last two meets, but she, Brittany and Katie should be in the mix up front at this race. Sheffey was close last meet, and hopefully we get Katie Van Horn up there with them and go from there."
As Clark mentioned, Areson has paced the Lady Vols in each of their previous races in 2009. She won the Belmont-VU Opener on Sept. 4 and placed fourth at the Crimson Classic on Sept. 18. The native of Delray Beach, Fla., now has factored into the scoring in all career 18 races she's run when Tennessee had a team entered, including three Paul Short Runs. She finished 27th overall there last season, 77th as a sophomore and 16th as a freshman. Last year's 21:07 readout was her best time on the course.
Sheffey finished two seconds behind Areson to place fifth at the Crimson Classic this season, while Van Horn was ninth and about 19 seconds behind her. Sheffey finished a minute behind Areson in the Belmont-VU Opener, in which Van Horn did not compete. Both have run in the Paul Short meet before, with Sheffey taking 33rd a year ago in 21:17. Van Horn redshirted last season but logged a 16th-place result on the course in 2007 with a 21:03 clocking that is the best at the venue by any current Lady Vol.
Senior Michele Levy and sophomore Elizabeth Tiller have factored into the team scoring the past two meets, while sophomore Elizabeth Altizer contributed during week one. The middle distance trio of senior Phoebe Wright, sophomore Chanelle Price and redshirt freshman Ramzee Fondren, which doesn't need to be beaten down by too much mileage, figures to work its way into the scoring rotation as the season progresses.
"We're just trying to take the steps to get better each meet," Clark said. "As the weeks go by, I'm feeling better about what I see."