TALLAHASSEE, Fla. --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Nathan Wanuch (Mississauga, Ontario) led the men's cross country team to a sixth place finish at the NCAA South Region Championships hosted by Florida State at the Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Fla., moving the Mocs up from its 12th place prerace ranking.
Wanuch placed 20th overall and will await word on a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Championships at the E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 17. He ran with the front group throughout the race and finished with a time of 31:10.4 and earned all-region honors.
"I'm really proud of Nathan," Chattanooga Head Coach Bill Gautier said. "He really stepped up this year. He is such a competitor."
Senior Lucas Cotter (Collierville, Tenn.), who has nursed a foot injury since last spring's outdoor season, placed 29th in the race with a time of 31:33.6
"I'm just amazed at what Lucas was able to do," Gautier said. "He wasn't able to train all year and to do what he did was incredible."
Freshman Paul Stuart (Brentwood, Tenn.) was the second freshman across the line in the South Region race placing 41st overall while classmate Trevor Janssen (Jordan Station, Ontario) placed 55th with a time of 32:13.0.
"Trevor, the league Freshman of the Year, was probably the third or fourth freshman across the line today," Gautier said. "The future looks bright."
Sophomores John Gilpin (Nashville, Tenn.) and Drew Austell (Memphis, Tenn.) helped the Mocs to climb in the region rankings with strong finishes for the Mocs.
"This was John's [Gilpin] first 10K," Gautier said. "I'm so proud of all of them. They just get better and better with each race. I don't want this to end."
The Mocs were the top team in Tennessee at the Region which includes schools from Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Florida State won the race on their home course placing all five scoring runners in the Top 11. Georgia was second and snared the second of two automatic bids from the region.
Florida placed third and has a shot at a team at-large bid while Georgia Tech was fourth followed by Mississippi State.
Behind the Mocs were East Tennessee State in seventh, Tennessee was eighth and Memphis was ninth. Other teams from the Volunteer State were Lipscomb (16th), Vanderbilt (22nd) and Tennessee Tech (24th). Southern Conference foe Samford placed 18th in the event.
The Lady Mocs, led by sophomore Amanda Sumner (Bristol, Conn.) placed 17th out of 29 teams at the regional. Sumner placed 51st in the field of 205 runners with a time of 21:19.8.
"Amanda fell down," Gautier said of his top runner. "She got too close to the other runners and was knocked down and struggled. She could have finished up 20-30 more spots if that hadn't happened. Keeley [Stewart], however, had a really strong race."
Stewart, a sophomore out of Winchester, Tenn., who fell in the women's race at the SoCon Championships placed 99th with a time of 22:07.8 on the 6K course. She was behind freshman Teghan Henderson (Pickering, Ontario) who was 79th with a time of 21:50.1.
Senior Kathryn Stuart (Brentwood, Tenn.) was the fourth UTC runner across the line with a time of 22:27.8 followed by senior Morgan Buchanan (Johnson City, Tenn.) with a time of 23:14.0. Helenka Kis was the final UTC to cross the line with a time of 25:36.1.
"This was a good race for us," Gautier said. "Kathryn went out on a great note and Teghan had a good start to her career. They hung in there and didn't give up. I'm so proud of their efforts."
Florida State swept the region with the women taking top honors with all five scoring runners placing in the Top 10. Vanderbilt was second followed by Georgia, Florida and Mississippi.
The Mocs will begin preparing for the upcoming Indoor Track and Field season that is set to start off in December while Wanuch awaits his fate.
NCAA South Region
6. Chattanooga 227 20 29 41 55 82 (101)
20. Nathan Wanuch 31:10.4 - all-region (possible at-large)
29. Lucas Cotter 31:33.6
41. Paul Stuart 31:56.1
55. Trevor Janssen 32:13.0
82. John Gilpin 32:48.8
101. Drew Austell 33:14.1
17. Chattanooga 483 51 79 99 112 142 (182)
51. Amanda Sumner 21:19.8
79. Teghan Henderson 21:50.1
99. Keeley Stewart 22:07.8
112. Kathryn Stuart 22:27.8
142. Morgan Buchanan 23:14.0
182. Helenka Kis 25:36.1