CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s men placed sixth as a team and the Tiger women were seventh at the Commodore Classic, held Saturday in Nashville, Tenn. The men finished ahead of four schools from the Southeastern Conference, including host Vanderbilt, in the 20-team 8K competition.
“This was by far our best competition this year,” said Head Coach Mark Elliott. “Our depth showed today on both sides, but the exciting thing is we still see some room for improvement.”
Louisville won the men’s competition with 53 points, followed by Ohio State (68). The Tigers posted 162 points, well ahead of seventh-place Samford. Clemson’s men beat three teams ranked in the top 15 of the South Region in the latest coaches’ poll.
“On the men’s side, we had the smallest split of every team that competed today,” said distance coach Michael Porter. “We have some depth and were very solid.”
All five of Clemson’s five scorers placed inside the individual top 50 on Saturday. The Tigers were led by sophomore James Quattlebaum for the third consecutive meet since transferring from High Point. Quattlebaum turned in a time of 25:22.4, and was just 32 seconds ahead of Clemson’s No. 5 runner.
Evan Abdullah continued his consistent pace, finishing 29th overall in 25:36.1. He was followed by Clayton Wilson, who put together an outstanding race in 32nd position (25:40.7). The final two scorers on the day were James Dwyer in 36th (25:44.5) and Micah Williams in 44th (25:54.8). Williams, a freshman, held off teammate Chris Cummings at the line by a one-second margin.
“Evan and Clayton raced together and helped each other the entire time and slowly kept moving up,” Porter said. “They kept each other honest, and worked very well together as a duo. They didn’t settle.”
On the women’s side, Grace Barnett was again the story. The junior from Pawleys Island, S.C., posted a career-best 5K time of 17:12.5 and earned a sixth-place finish. She helped the Tigers to the top finish ahead of several regionally-ranked opponents, including No. 7 Louisville out of the Southeast Region. Michigan won the women’s title (39), followed by Vanderbilt (92). The Tigers had 189 points, well clear of eighth-place Belmont.
“Grace ran near what I thought she could run, so she had a great run,” Porter said. “It was very impressive to put that type of time together on a cross country course. Our two through five were very compact, about 25 seconds apart. It was tightly packed, though, with a lot of bodies. If we can get those positions to pull closer to Grace we’ll be in a good spot.”
“The women were able to run competitively against some teams we will see later this year,” Porter continued. “This was our first real matchup with a competitive field, to see how we would react to it. This can be a confidence booster as we move forward and prepare for the next race. We’re still in the learning process, but it was another step forward.”
Evie Tate was Clemson’s No. 2 female, crossing the finish line in 17:54.4. She was supported by Brianna Feerst in 55th (18:08.7), Catherine Herring in 58th (18:10.1) and Elizabeth Dawson in 69th (18:19.1).
The Tigers return to action on Friday, Oct. 2 at the Notre Dame Invitational in Indiana.
RESULTS – MEN (20 teams)
1. Louisville, 53; 2. Ohio State, 68; 3. Middle Tennessee, 111; 4. Georgia Tech, 129; 5. Lipscomb, 133; 6. Clemson, 162; 7. Samford, 192; 8. Tennessee, 220; 9. Ole Miss, 227; 10. Mississippi State, 243.
RESULTS – WOMEN (21 teams)
1. Michigan, 39; 2. Vanderbilt, 92; 3. Mississippi State, 95; 4. Lipscomb, 97; 5. Ole Miss, 115; 6. Ohio State, 161; 7. Clemson, 189; 8. Belmont, 278; 9. Louisville, 307; 10. Georgia Tech, 308
May 1, 2019
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