Cross Country: Cooling off at the Coaching Tree

In their second meet of the year, a highly ranked Commodore squad fell short of expectations.

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Claire Gatlin

The team runs in a pack through the wooded course, captured on Sept. 2, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Claire Gatlin)

Jonah Barbin, Staff Writer

On Friday morning, the Commodores competed in their second cross country event of the season. Vanderbilt came into the Coaching Tree Invitational coming off a strong Belmont Opener, with the women and men finishing first and second, respectively. Entering the weekend, both the women’s and the men’s team were ranked highly in the South Region, with the women coming in at No. 6 and the men at No. 11.

Friday’s race took place on the Sam Bell Cross Country Course, with the women running a six-kilometer race and the men running an eight-kilometer race.The Commodores competed against Columbia, Elon, Gardner-Webb, Georgetown, Miami (Ohio), North Carolina, Northern Arizona, Ohio, South Dakota, Villanova and their host, Indiana.

The women totaled 176 points and finished sixth overall. Niki Narayani, coming off her first place overall finish at the Belmont Opener, once again paced the Commodores, this time finishing 15th with a time of 20 minutes and 41.1 seconds. This earned 15 points for Vanderbilt. Caroline Eck (21:11.1) and Cameron Fawcett (21:17.0) also finished in the top 30, coming in 26th and 29th, respectively. Every Commodore runner finished the race in under 25 minutes, thanks to the performances of Audrey Allman (21:45.3), Julia Rosenberg (22:14.2), Lainey Phelps (22:27.8), Jenna Holland (23:05.0), Emma Curry (21:21.8), Johna Grisik (23:22.5), Ella Lambert (23:26.5), Joslin Blair (23:32.3) and Gigi Clifford (24:18.0).

The men placed 10th overall and racked up 271 points. Similar to the women’s race, the Commodore men were paced by the same player that led them in their last event, with Michael Schumacher amassing 43 points and finishing 48th overall (25:24.8). The Commodores did not have many other performances of note, although Philip Metcalf (25:41.1), Brody Haar (26:00.6), Kaden Narayani (27:10.4), David Song (27:23.9) and Dylan Ballard (28:18.3) also all finished the race.

It was a disappointing showing for a Vanderbilt team coming off such a dominant opener, but the team will have an opportunity to bounce back quickly. On Sept. 30, they will once again lace up their running shoes in Indiana, this time in the Joe Piane Invitational hosted by Notre Dame.