Lady Roadrunner Cross Country Team Edged 37-38 Southeastern At South Carolina Meet

Sunday, October 25, 2020
The Roadrunners traveled to Bluffton, South Carolina in search of good NAIA competition. They found it in 17th-ranked Southeastern (Fla.). The race was intense and was a nail biter for the full five kilometers. The Lady Birds ran well but came up one point short of beating Southeastern. The final tally was 37 to 38, with both teams easily outpacing third place Ave Maria (Fla.) who scored 92 points in the battle of NAIA teams.
It was a hot day for competition, but the temperature was unseasonably hot too.
The temperature at race time was 84 degrees. Certainly not the kind of weather that lends itself to running fast times, but no matter, the Roadrunners still finished with their best team average of the year with a speedy 19:49.

Leading the way for the Lady Birds was sophomore Kathryn Vradenburgh, who ran her fastest time of the year when she crossed the line second overall in 18:54. She was followed by a 6th place overall finish from junior Alex Gass who finished with a personal best time of 19:18.
Freshman Riley Jo Ford crossed the line as the third Roadrunner in 19:47, which was good enough for 8th place overall. Finishing as the fourth Lady Bird was Kate Roberts who knocked another 21 seconds off her personal best when she ran 20:24, good for 11th overall.
Rounding out the top 5 was senior Kay Vradenburgh who came across the line in 13th place overall in 20:36. It was a gritty performance.
Finishing as the number six runner for the Roadrunners once again was Kayla Mattox, who looks better every single race. Kayla knocked over 30 seconds off her personal best time when she crossed the line in 21:23. It was good for 22nd place. Not far behind, running her own personal best at 21:33, was Rebecca Poe who finished in 24th giving the Roadrunners top-25 finishes for the entire team.
Comments From Coach Dean Thompson:

"I say it after every race, but I'm really proud of the way this team competes. They knew they were going to be in a tough battle today and they showed up to run hard. It was a little strange to have an away race that started in the evening, but it didn't rattle them at all. Any time we have 4 of 7 runners run a personal best, it's a big day. And it came when the competition was better than we had faced all year."
"Our best ranking in school history is 24th. Today we finished as close as we possibly could to the number 17 team in the country. To say that we have made progress is an understatement. And it is all due to the grit and determination of a great group of competitors."
"Kathryn is back to running really well and it is such a joy to watch. This was her first time under 19 minutes this year and she is peaking at the right time. She had a great last half mile today as she finished really strong. She is primed and ready to run well at the Conference Championship in a couple of weeks."
"Alex just gets faster every time out. Her will to run hard is as strong as any you will see anywhere. She is quiet but determined. If you're going to beat Alex, you're going to have to hurt to do it! I had a feeling she would run a personal best today, and she did not disappoint!"
"Riley Jo had a good race today despite not having her best stuff. It was clear shortly after the first mile that she wasn't going to run her best time, but she dug down deep and ran as hard as she could anyway. That's what champions are made of. I was really proud of the way she did all she could to help the team. Of course, even on day when Riley is not her best, she's still really good!"
"Kate has run her fastest collegiate time in probably 75% of the races she has run since she began last year. She just keeps getting better from race to race. It is a testament to her work ethic and the major improvements in the way she thinks about and approaches races. Her mental game has become one of her strongest assets."
"Like Riley, Kay didn't have her best stuff today, but she kept battling all the way to the finish line. It is really easy for a runner to give less than their best when things aren't going as planned, but that's not Kay's personality. She runs hard every race simply because she knows she has to look herself in the mirror when it is all over. She never has to regret her effort because she never gives less than her best on any given day."
"I'm so proud of how far Kayla has come for us this year. She struggles sometimes with the mental side of running, but she has become so much stronger than she was at the beginning of the year. She's not done improving either. Kayla's passion for running faster has grown deeper and deeper during this season. What more could a coach want to see from an athlete? Watching her knock a minute off her fastest time of the year was so satisfying!"
"Becca has come a long way in the past week! She struggled in a workout just a few days ago, but today she laid it all on the line to run 30 seconds faster than she has run all year. She just kept hanging in there all race. In spots where she has faded in the past, she hung tight and ran a gritty race. She is very close to the goal she set for herself at the beginning of the year. I'm so proud of her efforts to get there!"
"Overall, we didn't have a perfect race, but we had a very good race. We have two weeks to fix the things that didn't go perfectly so that we can finish the season with our best race of the year. One more race to go – and it's the big one."
The Lady Roadrunners will wrap up the season with the Southern States Athletic Conference Championship on November 7 in Oakville, Alabama. They will be defending their Conference Championship from a year ago.

SEC FOOTBALL: Standings/Results/Schedule

Randy Smith: Being Thankful In 2020

Dan Fleser: Pandemic Sweeps Away Most Upcoming Vol Activities

Southeastern Conference Football Standings/Results/Schedule 2020 SEC Standings – East Won-Lost (6) Florida 6-1 (13) Georgia ... (click for more)

Thanksgiving this year will be like no other we've ever had and hopefully will never have again. Still, there are always things to be thankful for and, despite all the pain and heartache we've ... (click for more)

The COVID-19 pandemic swept in on Monday and wiped away most of the major events on Tennessee’s athletic calendar for the coming week. After consulting with the Knox County health department, ... (click for more)


SEC FOOTBALL: Standings/Results/Schedule

Southeastern Conference Football Standings/Results/Schedule 2020 SEC Standings – East Won-Lost (6) Florida 6-1 (13) Georgia 5-2 Missouri 3-3 Kentucky 3-5 Tennessee 2-5 South Carolina 2-6 Vanderbilt ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Being Thankful In 2020

Thanksgiving this year will be like no other we've ever had and hopefully will never have again. Still, there are always things to be thankful for and, despite all the pain and heartache we've gone through as a nation this year, it's time to focus on the good things in our lives. I am thankful for my family, as always. I've prayed since day one of the coronavirus pandemic ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Tennessee Has 4,404 New COVID Cases, 53 More Deaths

The number of coronavirus cases in Tennessee is 352,376 on Thursday with 4,404 new cases. There have been 53 more deaths from the virus, for a total of 4,519, said state Health Department officials. The state currently has 2,178 people hospitalized from the virus, 5 less than on Wednesday. There have been 312,885 people who have recovered from the virus in Tennessee (89 ... (click for more)

Georgia Has 26 New Coronavirus Deaths, 2,946 New Cases

Georgia state health officials reported on Thursday there have been 26 additional deaths due to the coronavirus. The current total is 8,716. There were 2,946 new cases as that total reached 413,909 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Hospitalizations are at 34,587, up 174 from Wednesday. Here are the numbers by county: Catoosa County: 1,997 cases, up 25; 29 deaths; ... (click for more)


County Employees Need A Bonus Too

A few weeks ago we learned that Sheriff Jim Hammond was asking for a second raise. Earlier this year Hamilton County employees were notified that "due to COVID-19" there would be no raises for employees of any kind this year. I guess Mr. Hammond didnt get that memo about no raises. Why is it that some employees will be getting a raise and others are not? That doesn't really ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful

For the life of me, I can’t remember when it started but back in the ‘70s, I began devoting my sports column on Thanksgiving Day to off-the-wall stuff of which I was truly and genuinely thankful. Back then I would go to from “76 reasons”, then “77 Reasons”, and then “78 reasons” with every new year. We climbed through 80’s, and the 90’s and it became a tradition. By then it had ... (click for more)