With their regional titles, both teams will race next weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the 2023 NCAA Cross Country Championships. It is the first time both teams have qualified for the national meet since 2005.
For the women, it will be their first appearance at the NCAA National Championships since 2006, while the men are making back-to-back trips to the NCAA meet for the first time since 2001-02.
“This is just a massive step for our program,” head coach Sean Carlson said. “To do it so soon, this is year two, I think we are ahead of schedule which is always a nice spot to be in. I am just really proud of these kids. They have done an awesome job in a short amount of time buying into what we are trying to create and the culture we are trying to create. It all stems from that really. When you have the right culture, and you have the right kids the performance follows.”
WOMEN’S RACE RECAP – 6K
The Lady Vols secured their place at the NCAA Championships by clinching the South Region title with 61 points.
Ashley Jones led the charge for Tennessee, crossing the line at 18:52.9 and securing an impressive seventh-place finish. Hot on her heels were teammates Jillian Candelino and Jessie Secor, finishing in 10th and 11th place, respectively, with times of 18:55.0 and 18:57.7. Rachel Sutliff clocked in at 19:00.1 for a 12th-place finish, while Caroline Lyerly rounded out UT’s top five with a time of 19:12.7.
All five Lady Vols clinched NCAA All-Region honors with their placements. They were joined on the All-Region podium by Kayla Gholar who finished 23rd overall.
MEN’S RACE RECAP – 10K
The Vols punched their ticket to the NCAA Championships by claiming the NCAA South Region championship for the second consecutive year, winning with 68 points.
Tennessee was spearheaded by Yaseen Abdalla, who crossed the finish line at 28:41.3, securing third place on the podium. Following closely, Gabriel Sanchez claimed sixth with a time of 28:56.8, while true freshman Dean Casey crossed the finish line in 11th place…