CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's and women's cross country teams will head to Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Saturday for the 2012 Southern Conference Cross Country Championships hosted by The Citadel at the Laurel Hill Plantation.
The Mocs will be led onto the course by senior Nathan Wanuch (Mississauga, Ontario) who won UTC's Front Runner and PowerAde Invitationals. He owns the seventh-best time in the Southern Conference with a 24:46.41 in the 8K at the Greater Louisville Classic on September 29 where he placed second in the Blue Division Race. Wanuch was sixth in the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic 8K, posting a time of 24:47.55.
Senior Lucas Cotter (Collierville, Tenn.) made his return to the course this season at the Front Runner Invitational placing seventh overall and was the second Moc runner across the line to help UTC to a top place finish. Cotter, an all-conference performer last season, has been rehabbing a foot injury suffered during the 2012 Outdoor Track and Field season.
Freshmen Paul Stuart (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Trevor Janssen (Jordan Station, Ontario) have bolstered the Mocs lineup along with Drew Austell (Memphis, Tenn.) an 800m track runner who was pressed into service. Junior John Gilpin (Nashville, Tenn.) and sophomore Pat O'Brien (Chattanooga, Tenn.) will round out the Mocs as they look to finish among the top of the league.
Sophomore Amanda Sumner (Bristol, Conn.) is ranked among the Top 20 in the Southern Conference in the women's 5K after posting a time of 18:21.09 in that distance at the Greater Louisville Classic. In her first cross country race after an extended layoff, Sumner cleared the pack and finished nearly 20 seconds ahead of teammate Kathryn Stuart (Brentwood, Tenn.) who placed second at the PowerAde Invitaitonal.
Sophomore Keeley Stewart (Winchester, Tenn.) has provided a stabilizing, consistent competitor for the Lady Mocs. She placed third in the PowerAde Invitational and was sixth at the Front Runner, helping UTC to a pair of top place finishes. Freshmen Teghan Henderson (Pickering, Ontario) and Helenka Kis (Columbia, Tenn.) will be expected to help Chattanooga climb a few spots in the order Saturday. Henderson was fourth at UTC's Front Runner and ran an 18:26.10, placing 24th overall out of 337 runners at the Greater Louisville Classic.
Seniors Mary Cumbee (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Morgan Buchanan (Johnson City, Tenn.) who helped the Lady Mocs to the Front Runner title, will line it up this weekend. This will be the last hurrah for seniors Stuart and Cumbee. The pair is on track to graduate in December, in just three-and-a-half years. Stuart is looking to continue on in grad school while Cumbee will begin her teaching career.
The women's 5K race will begin at 10 a.m. with the men's 8K race set to follow at 10:45. The UNCG men were picked in the preseason to retain the SoCon crown while Elon was selected ahead of the 2011 champion UNCG Spartans by 12 points to win the women's title.
Admission is free and results will be available at GoMocs.com following the event.