The Tennessee cross country team will compete in its second meet of the season this weekend, facing off with five other schools in the Georgia Bulldog SEC Preview.
Both the men’s and women’s squads will look to build off of a solid showing last weekend at Cherokee Farms, where the men came in first (22-35) and sophomore Megan Murray finished third overall on the women’s side.
“I’m happy with how I did, how our team did and I think we’ll have a good season ahead of us,” Murray said.
This will be an important matchup for Tennessee, as it will go head to head with some SEC foes this weekend. The Bulldog Preview will host five other teams in Saturday's race: Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, LSU and South Carolina.
Saturday’s meet will also be lengthy, as it will be the longest race so far this season with both an 8K and 6K for men and women, respectively.
On Tennessee’s men’s side, junior Zach Long will participate in his first cross country event of the season in Athens. Long came in just short of a top-25 ranking last year but paced the squad during the SEC Championships, marking a time of 25:10.
“We feel like we’ve got some firepower, we’ve started off well,” Beth Alford-Sullivan, UT director of track and field/cross country, said. “We’ll see how the season develops with them.”
Tennessee will have 10 men competing this weekend, including veterans Long, Gashaw Duhamel, Andre Hillsman, Drew Kelly, Wesley Robinson and Brad Swiney.
On the women’s side, there will also be a total of 10 athletesrunning for Tennessee. Murray, Cassidy Giles, Maddison Melchionna, Peighton Meske, Emma Reed and Jessica Rizor fill out the list of veterans competing.
Murray competed in the IAAF World Cross Country Championship earlier this year, where she placed top-100 and finished off last year’s 2016 season as the top Vol finisher in all of the races she competed in.
“(The Tennessee Dual was) probably the most impressive race I saw from Megan Murray since I’ve known her,” Alford-Sullivan said. “She went and stuck her nose in it, led the race most of the way and just ran very, very tough.
“So our young women, we have some people to put into that lineup yet too.”
The men will start things off at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and run an 8000-meter race, just under five miles. The women will run a 6000-meter race, just under four miles, right after at 9:15 a.m. The event will take place at UGA Golf Course.