TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — The Tennessee women’s cross country team closed out a frustrating 2006 season Monday afternoon with a 28th-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
The Lady Volunteers, who were making their fifth straight and 10th overall appearance at the meet, accumulated 565 points to finish 28th out of 31 teams.
“I am just happy to put this season behind us,” coach J.J. Clark said. “It has been one of the toughest seasons I’ve ever had, with a lot of injuries that were unavoidable — things that you can’t control as a coach.”
Stanford, which went wire to wire as the number-one team in the USTFCCCA poll, captured the NCAA trophy by tallying 195 points to easily hold off runner-up Colorado (223). Michigan took third with 233 points, while Wisconsin was fourth at 262 and Arkansas claimed fifth with 286.
Sophomore Sarah Bowman led the Lady Vols to the finish line for the second time this season, with a 97th-place finish out of 255 runners, covering the 6,000-meter course in just more than 22 minutes.
Sophomore Katie Van Horn finished second for Tennessee, as she came in 113th place in her first NCAA Championships appearance.
Senior Katie Flaute (Dayton, Ohio), making her fourth NCAA appearance, was the third UT scorer, finishing 158th in 22:34.1, followed by freshman Jackie Areson (Delray Beach, Fla.) at 161st in 22:35.6. Senior Felicia Guliford (Gallup, N.M.), also running in her fourth national championship race, filled the No. 5 role on the squad, crossing the line 188th in 22:53.1.
With the effort, Tennessee’s season record winds up at 114-40, which ranks as the third best in school history. That total boosts the Lady Vols’ mark during Flaute and Guliford’s five-year stints at Tennessee to 518-162-1, with the squad making five NCAA appearances and winning four NCAA South Regional titles and three Southeastern Conference trophies during that time.
“I know both of them (Flaute and Guliford) wanted to finish their cross country careers with a little nicer ending, but there is still track season for each of them,” Clark said. “Obviously, they have helped our cross country program a lot and made a tremendous impact.