NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Nathan Wanuch (Mississauga, Ontario) built upon his strong finish last week in the Mocs' season-opener to finish sixth in the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic Saturday morning at Percy Warner Park.
"Nathan really stepped up today," UTC Head Coach Bill Gautier said. "He challenged for a while and stayed close to the front."
Wanuch ran the 8K in a time of 24:47.34 against a field of 197 runners from 24 teams to lead the Mocs to a 12th place finish ahead of teams from Alabama, LSU, Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee who beat spoiled UTC's opener last weekend.
"We beat a lot of really good teams and I'm really happy and excited about the possibility of our men's team. We are without Lucas [Cotter] and Mark [Cole], a couple of our top runners from last year," Gautier said. "I knew our freshman would do a really good job this year and that helps fill in the gaps."
Freshman Paul Stuart (Brentwood, Tenn.) was the second Moc runner across the line with a time of 2:14.35 and classmate Trevor Janssen (Jordan Station, Ontario) crossed the line with a time of 26:29.14.
Eastern Kentucky claimed the title with 32 points placing all five scoring runners in the top 10 followed by Miami (Ohio) with 83 points. Tennessee was third (121) followed by Georgia (173) and Mississippi State (183) all running the course in a preview for the SEC Championships later this year.
Western Kentucky's Joseph Chebet took the top spot with a time of 24:36.15 followed by UTK's Peter Okwera (24:36.49) and EKU's Ben Toroitich (24:41.72).
The women struggled Saturday with the loss of Amanda Sumner (Bristol, Conn.) who fell ill earlier in the week.
"Everything that went right with the women's team last week, went wrong this week," Gautier said. "With Amanda sick and Mary [Cumbee] out for the week with a foot injury, it just wasn't good."
Senior Kathryn Stuart (Brentwood, Tenn.) paced the Lady Mocs with a time of 23:213.47 on the extended 6K course. Sophomore Keeley Stewart (Winchester, Tenn.) was two spots behind her with a time of 23:25.70.
Host Vanderbilt won the race with 42 points placing four of their five scoring runners in the top ten. Ole Miss was second (84) with the top place finisher Katie Breathitt taking first with a time of 21:03.23. Eastern Kentucky placed third with 108 points followed by Mississippi State with 117.
The Running Mocs will take next weekend off in preparation of the Greater Louisville Classic to be run Saturday, Sept. 29 in Louisville, Ky.