The Commodores placed third last weekend at the SEC Preview meet at Indian Pines Golf Course in Auburn, Alabama with a team score of 54 points. That was just one point off the second place team, Ole Miss, who had 53 points.
Vanderbilt was led by a second place finish for Sara Tsai with a time of 13:25.88 on the 4K course. Sara, along with eighth place finisher, Caroline Pietrzyk (13:49.82) did not race last year.
Head Coach Steve Keith said, “Most important was to get All-SEC Sara Tsai and All-American Caroline Pietrzyk out on the course! Sara missed last season and Caroline has missed the last two seasons so their leadership on the course has been nice to see.”
Kendall Derry (JR), Devon Grisbaum (SR), and Mailin Struck (JR) rounded out the top five for the squad. They ran times of 13:58.05, 14:01.07, and 14:08.07 respectively.
The ‘Dores were projected to finish 5th in the conference during the preseason coaches’ poll, so a third place finish at the SEC preview meet is a welcomed improvement. However, Keith would like to see improvement in his third through fifth place runners.
Improvement there will go a long way in returning to the top of the conference and South Region.
“Narrowing the gap between our top runners and the next 4-5 will be our focus. Good years we’ve seen a 1-5 time gap of just 15-20”...trying to run within 20-30’ will be our emphasis this coming weekend with the full squad running together for the first time.”
This weekend, Vanderbilt will host their home meet on at 9:00 AM on Saturday at the Commodore Classic. It is held at Percy Warner Park. There will be about 20 schools and 200 runners in both men’s and women’s races.