CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's and women's cross country teams opened the 2011 season at home with the annual PowerAde Invitational at the Moccasin Bend Race Course Friday evening. Senior Chris Berry (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and sophomore Lucas Cotter (Collierville, Tenn.) led the Mocs to a decisive win.
"Chris really wanted a win today," UTC Head Coach Bill Gautier said. "This is his senior year and he has worked really hard. He did what he needed to do, but came up short."
Berry ran the 5-kilometer course in a time of 15:00, three seconds off the pace set by winner Justus David of Middle Tennessee. Cotter, the 2010 SoCon Freshman of the Year, cruised across the finish line in third place with a time of 15:11.
Junior Nathan Wanuch (Missisauga, Ontario) was the Mocs third runner across the line, with a fifth place finish at 15:24. Junior Mark Cole (McKenzie, Tenn.) placed ninth (15:48) followed by senior Josh Vasquez (Kingsport, Tenn.) in 12th (15:51). Sophomore Drew Austell ran the 3.2 mile course in a time of 16:26.
The Mocs won with a score of 31 points followed by Middle Tennessee a distant second with 55 points. The Blue Raiders just edged mid-state rival Lipscomb which crossed the line with 56 points. UT Martin was fourth with 99 points followed by Jacksonville State (108) and Tennessee State (176).
"We've got five solid guys," Gautier said. "I expected this today with our lineup. The hard work this summer paid off. I have a lot of confidence in them, but we have a long way to go. If they can stay healthy and improve, we've got a shot at competing for the conference title."
On the flip side, the Lady Mocs' roster was filled with inexperience and that showed with the Mocs rolling to a fourth-place finish behind winner Lipscomb (21), Middle Tennessee (64) and Jacksonville State's 65.
"We've got to regroup," Gautier said. "Tara Gietema has done a good job for us, but the others have never run a SoCon Championship and that can be a little scary. After being in the top two in the conference the last several years, this is a bit of adjustment. I'm without three runners that I was counting on this year."
Gietema, of Knoxville, Tenn., placed 10th for the Lady Mocs with a time of 11:41 over the two-mile course. The Lady Mocs' only other returning runner, junior Morgan Buchanan (Johnson City, Tenn.), was the second UTC runner across the line placing 13th in the scoring column (12:08).
Freshman Sarah White-Woerner (Chattanooga, Tenn.) was 22nd overall followed by freshman Keely Stewart (Winchester, Tenn.) in 25th and Jenna Nick (Columbia, Tenn.) placing 29th.
Chattanooga finished ahead of UT Martin's 118 points and Tennessee State with 161 points.
The Running Mocs will travel to Nashville for the Vanderbilt Commodore Classic on Saturday, Sept. 17 with a 9 a.m. start. Results will be available on GoMocs.com.
2 Chris Berry 15:00
3 Lucas Cotter 15:11
5 Nathan Wanuch 15:24
9 Mark Cole 15:48
12 Joshue Vasquez 15:51
23 Drew Austell 16:26
10 Tara Gietema 11:41
13 Morgan Buchanan 12:08
22 Sarah Woerner 12:45
25 Keeley Stewart 13:03
29 Jenna Nick 13:57