Tennessee's cross country squad closed out its season by finishing a respectable fifth place with 139 points at the NCAA South Regionals in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday afternoon.
Vols Marcus Tanner and Paul Hallman brought home All-Region honors by finishing the 10K race at Harry Pritchett Golf Course in the top 25. Additionally, Tanner has a chance to make the NCAA Championships field as an individual because of his strong effort at the South Regionals.
Host Alabama took the team title with 47 points. South Florida posted 70 points to earn runner-up status. The top two teams advance to the NCAA Championships. Alabama's David Kimani, the SEC champion, won the individual title by running the course in 30:25.15.
We made an improvement since our last race, Vol head coach George Watts said. Probably the best we could have finished was fourth. Most of our guys ran as well as they could run under the circumstances. Marcus Tanner ran a great race. He has a shot at qualifying for nationals, but we won't know until Monday. Paul Hallman also ran an excellent race. He was the top freshman finisher in the meet.
Tanner wrapped up All-Region honors by leading the Vols in 10th place. Tanner, a native of Chiefland, Fla., broke the tape in 31:39.74 to continue his strong late-season improvement after an injury held him from early competitions. Hallman's 25th-place, All-Region time of 32:26.06 proved to be the fastest by any freshman in the competition.
Rob Cloutier contributed a 32nd-place, 32:35.24 effort to the Vol cause. Keith Kimmons finished 45th in 33:01.37. Eric Bell rounded out Vol scorers in 49th in 33:04.57. Clay Wiggins crossed 72nd by running a 33:49.89. Vince Dressel broke the tape in 33:54.89 to stand 77th. The spread between Tennessee's top five finishers was 1:24.83, a tighter and better spread than the Vols ran at the SEC Championships even though it was a shorter race (8K).