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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: Vanderbilt caps season off at NCAA South Regional

Vanderbilt Men’s and Women’s Cross Country ended their seasons with 14th and 12th place finishes, respectively.
Caroline+Eck+crosses+the+finish+line+as+Vanderbilt+Womens+Cross+Country+places+12th+at+the+NCAA+South+Region+Championships+on+Nov.+10%2C+2023.+%28Vanderbilt+Athletics%29+
Vanderbilt Athletics
Caroline Eck crosses the finish line as Vanderbilt Women’s Cross Country places 12th at the NCAA South Region Championships on Nov. 10, 2023. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Country teams. Both teams competed at the NCAA South Region Championships, hosted by the University of Florida at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla. The men’s team struggled to find its footing, finishing the event in 14th place, as the women’s squad fared slightly better with a 12th place finish. 

The men’s team was led by Jackson Scruggs, who came in at No. 79 overall in the race, finishing the 10-kilometer event in 31:21.3. Moments behind the freshman was Andrew Pahnke, who crossed the finish line in 31:38.0, earning him a top-100 finish as well (89). Zach Hodges came in third among all Commodores, finishing in 94th place, just over three seconds behind Pahnke at 31:41.4. The time marked a personal best for the junior. Rounding out the scorers for the men’s team were Jack DesRoches and Bradey Bliven, who ran times of 32:00.3 and 32:05.7, respectively. Three of Vanderbilt’s top five finishers on the men’s side were freshmen, and while the result might not have been what the Commodores were looking for, hope for the future is certainly palpable. 

“The men came in in a year where we have definitely increased our depth and overall quality with the development of the guys who are returners and with a lot of newcomers in freshmen and transfers,” director of cross country and track and field head coach Althea Thomas stated. “It’s really good to see where these bricks are being laid for the type of program we know we’re capable of having at Vanderbilt.”

Vanderbilt Women’s Cross Country had a more positive performance, placing 12th in the event. Julia Rosenberg capped off her strong junior season in style, leading the Commodores and crossing the finish line with a 5-kilometer time of 19:55.9, good for 38th overall in the race. The race marked a personal best for her. Also setting a personal best was Vanderbilt’s second-place finisher Caroline Eck, who came in 57th overall with a time of 20:19.8. Freshman Collette Kinsella snagged a personal best as well, posting a time of 20:34.4. Right behind her were Catherine Sommerfield (20:36.6) and Emma Curry (20:38.6), who both PR’ed as well. 

It was a successful day for the Commodores’ women’s team, as all five of its scoring runners earned personal bests in the race. 

“Our ladies came from having one of the best conference meets in recent years two weeks ago and came and had a hard-fought race against some highly ranked teams,” Thomas said. “We had some great showings by our seniors on the team and whenever you see that, you’re pretty pleased.”

While the Commodores’ cross country season is officially over, the track and field season is just a couple of months away. Vanderbilt Women’s Track and Field, as well as select runners from the men’s cross country team, will begin the indoor track season on Jan. 20 at the Commodore Challenge.

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About the Contributor
Aiden Rutman, Senior Staff Writer
Aiden Rutman (‘25) is a student in Peabody College majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in communication studies. He formerly produced The Hustler’s sports podcast, Live from West End. In addition to writing and podcasting, Aiden is an avid New York sports fan, and he loves playing sports, spending time outdoors and trying new foods. You can reach him at [email protected].
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