Despite running without freshman ace Sarah Bowman, and with top returnee Felicia Guliford a little bit under the weather, the 15th-ranked Lady Vols cross country team was still able to notch a third-place finish out of 47 teams Saturday morning at the Paul Short Run in Bethlehem, Pa.
Tennessee’s performance made coach J.J. Clark the winningest coach in Lady Vols cross country history.
UT, competing without its full roster, finished behind victorious No. 20 Columbia and runner-up No. 26 Georgetown in the 6K event at Lehigh University’s 6,000-meter Goodman Campus Course. Maryland grabbed fourth, followed by Cornell, No. 8 Villanova, LaSalle, Penn, Stony Brook and Bucknell rounding out the top 10 in one of the biggest meets in the northeastern United States.
SEC foe Auburn, which was picked fifth in the preseason league poll, wound up 28th.
As for Clark, the fourth-year coach improved his UT career mark to 336-93-1 after his squad defeated 44 schools and finished behind only two today. His victory total vaults him past Terry Crawford, a Lady Vol Hall of Famer who forged a 303-76-1 slate during her 10-year stint in Knoxville from 1974 to 1983. Saturday’s result also improved Tennessee to 57-3 on the current campaign.
“We’re coming along well,” Clark said. “The progress of the team over the last few weeks shows we’re moving in the right direction. We will look forward to having the whole group together, including Felicia and Sarah, in our Oct. 15 meet at Penn State.
“As far as the record goes, what that means is that the young ladies I have had a privilege to coach have been executing their race plans in competition. More important is our focus on continuing our training and getting ready for the championship part of the season.”
Pacing the Lady Vols for the first time in her collegiate career was junior Katie Flaute, who crossed the line eighth in a career-best 20 minutes, 45 seconds.