The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Cross Country: Commodores show promise at Mountain Dew Invitational

Following a shaky start to the season, Vanderbilt showed potential in its second outing.
Barrie Barto
Four Vanderbilt runners run the second lap at the Belmont Opener, as photographed on Sept. 1, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)

After a disappointing outing at the Belmont Opener, the men and women of Vanderbilt Cross Country traveled to Gainesville last Friday, Sept. 15, for the Mountain Dew Invitational hosted by the University of Florida. Showing resilience and bouncing back against tough competition following the lackluster opener, the women’s team finished 2nd out of 14 teams, while the men placed 6th out of 15.

The races snaked through Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Course, the designated site for November’s 2023 NCAA South Regional Championship. The women’s race spanned three miles while the men’s measured 7.8 kilometers. The race gave, Vanderbilt’s runners valuable experience on a course that they could be competing on again later in the fall. 

The women performed impressively at the Invitational, placing second as a team with 42 points, only 4 points behind the winners, Florida. With an average time of 17 minutes and 29 seconds, the ladies were led by graduate student Caroline Eck, who dazzled with a time of 17:14.3 for a fourth overall finish. Hot on the tails of Eck were sophomore Emma Curry and junior Ella Lambert, who finished at 17:24.4 for sixth and 17:25.4 for seventh, respectively. Julia Rosenberg and Joslin Blair also impressed, as Rosenberg secured tenth with a time of 17:37.1, while Blair finished fifteenth with a time of 17:46.3

Despite placing lower in comparison, the men’s outing revealed bright prospects for the future. Out of Vanderbilt’s top five finishers, three were freshmen. Freshman Jack DesRoches was Vanderbilt’s frontrunner, finishing at 24:35.4 to navigate the 7.8-kilometer course for eighth place. DesRoches was tailed by fellow freshman Brady Bliven, who finished 34th overall with a time of 25:13.0. The third freshman to crack Vanderbilt’s top five was Jackson Scruggs, who sped through the course in 25:27.0. The rest of the top five also included junior Zach Hodges and senior Andrew Pahnke, who posted times of 25:22.2 and 25:23.9, respectively.

The Commodores’ performance in Gainesville should serve as an important building block for this team’s success going forward. The women showed off their speed en route to a second place finish against tough competition, while the men impressed with their strong freshman core.

The Commodores will look to further realize their potential on Sept. 29 at the Joe Piane Invitational in South Bend, Ind., hosted by Notre Dame.

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About the Contributors
Vincent Xu
Vincent Xu, Staff Writer
Vincent Xu (‘27) is planning on majoring in economics with a minor in data science in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of The Hustler, Vincent enjoys playing sports, watching sports, talking sports and a couple of other things that are sadly unrelated to sports. He can be reached at [email protected].
Jonah Barbin
Jonah Barbin, Senior Staff Writer
Jonah Barbin (‘25) is majoring in human and organizational development and cinema and media studies. In addition to writing about sports, you can catch him acting, scouring the fantasy football waiver wire, playing golf and fantasizing about what Odell Beckham Jr.’s career would have been if the Giants never traded him. You can reach him at [email protected].
Barrie Barto
Barrie Barto, Senior Staff Photographer
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with a minor neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. Outside of The Hustler, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
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