Points for the men’s poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11 basis, while points for the women’s poll were awarded on a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13 basis. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their teams.
Arkansas was slated to finish second with 21 points and five first-place votes, followed by Alabama in third at 23 points and a pair of first-place votes.
The Vols enter their second season under head coach Sean Carlson and look to build on a successful 2022 campaign. Last season, Carlson led the men’s cross country team to heights the Big Orange had not seen in more than two decades. The Vols took second at the SEC Championships, won the NCAA South Region title and finished 20th at the NCAA Championships—representing UT’s best team placement at the national meet for the men since 1995.
UT returns several key members from last season’s squad, including Yaseen Abdalla, Nate Kawalec, Eli Nahom, Jacob Lewis and Canaan Anderson. Abdalla finished third at the SEC meet a year ago before earning All-America accolades with a 33rd-place finish at the national meet.
Kawalec and Nahom placed 15th and 39th, respectively, at the SEC meet in 2022 before recording top-20 finishes at the South Regional. Lewis also performed well at the region meet, crossing in 21st.
The Orange & White also added a pair of key transfers in Brandon Olden and Gabriel Sanchez. Sanchez transferred from Indiana where he placed third at the Big Ten Conference meet in 2022. Olden joined the Vols from Siena and placed fourth at the 2022 MAAC Cross Country Championships.
For the women, the Lady Vols return all five of their scorers from last season’s conference meet. They were picked to finish fifth in the SEC by the league’s coaches. The women added key transfers in Oliwia Wawrzyniak and Ashley Jones who both claimed top-five finishes at their respective conference meets last season.
Wawrzyniak placed third at the Sun Belt Cross Country Championships, while Jones finished fourth in the Big South.
Tennessee’s season opener is slated for Friday, Sept. 1 at home at Cherokee Farms Cross Country Course. The women will open at 8 a.m. ET with a 3-mile run, followed by the men at 8:30 a.m. running a 4-mile.