CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- With men's and women's teams from more than 97 schools competing in what is billed as the "largest college meet in the South", the Mocs faced a scary moment as many of the men's team ended up on the ground and injured finishing 19th in the Greater Louisville Classic.
With more than 320 runners in such close quarters, several lost their footing and hit the ground including four Chattanooga runners.
"It looks like we were in a knife fight," UTC Head Coach Bill Gautier said. "Lucas [Cotter] went down and stayed down. He'll end up with some stitches and Josh [Vasquez] has a bad cut on his knee. He probably shouldn't have gotten up."
Senior David Moore (Sarnia, Ontario) and sophomore transfer Nathan Wanuch (Mississauga, Ontario) were among the runners for UTC who hit the pitch and were trampled before they could return to the race, finishing near the middle of the pack. Vasquez (Kingsport, Tenn.) placed 169th with a time of 25:45.24 followed by Wanuch (25:46.32) while Moore (25:53.60) was 180th of the 323 runners who finished.
Senior Emmanuel Kirwa (Kapsabet, Kenya) and junior Chris Berry (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) were more fortunate getting out ahead of the group and finishing with a decent showing in the event. Kirwa finished the 8000 meter course in a time of 24:06.28 placing 15th while Berry was 30th with a time of 24:28.22 for the Mocs.
Louisville took first in the men's race with 97 points followed by Colorado School of Mines (155), Grand Valley State in third (172), Eastern Kentucky fourth with 260 points and Shippensburg placing fifth with 273 team points.
The Mocs scored 566 points and tied with Kentucky for 19th overall ahead of such schools as Georgia Tech, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State and SoCon foe Elon. Meshack Koyiaki of Columbus State won the men's race with a time of 23:20.75.
On the women's side, there was trouble as well as junior Tara Gietema (Knoxville, Tenn.) had to drop out on the advice of Gautier after her foot was stepped on and her shoe came off.
"I didn't want her to keep running with the risk of injuring her foot," Gautier said. "It's not safe."
Senior Anneli Uys (Somerville, Australia) was 37th in the women's 5K event with the women placing 24th. She ran the course in a time of 17:49.27. Shippensburg University's Neely Spence ran a course record 16:32.90 to pace the field.
Senior Shelley Taylor (Cohutta, Ga.) was 121st with a time of 18:48.18 followed by sophomore Mary Cumbee's (Brentwood, Tenn.) 133rd place finished with a time of 18:51.24. Sophomore Kathryn Stuart (Brentwood, Tenn.) was the Lady Mocs' fourth finisher with a time of 18:57.27 in the 150 spot while sophomore Heather Stuive (Beamsville, Ontario) finished out the scoring for UTC in the 182 spot with a time of 19:18.85.
Grand Valley State University edged Vanderbilt to claim top honors in the event with 106 points while the Commodores were second with 107. Georgia was third with 198 points and Shippensburg was fourth with 208. Western Kentucky rounded out the top five with 225 team points.
The Lady Mocs finished ahead of teams from Georgia Tech, Middle Tennessee, Miami and SoCon foe Davidson.
"Many of our runners did well. It's just unfortunate that this happened," Gautier said. "I think if we could have kept our feet we would have done really well in the men's race. It was unfortunate that Tara couldn't finish either. While it seems like a bad experience, it was a good experience for us. I'm really proud of everyone."
T19. MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY 566
15. Emmanuel Kirwa 24:06.28
30. Chris Berry 24:28.22
169. Josh Vasquez 25:45.24
172. Nathan Wanuch 25:46.32
180. David Moore 25:53.60
24. WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY 623
37. Anneli Uys 17:49.27
121. Shelley Taylor 18:48.18
133. Mary Cumbee 18:51.24
150. Kathryn Stuart 18:57.27
182. Heather Stuive 19:18.85