GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Friday was a historic morning for Tennessee cross country as it swept the Tigers in SEC East Showdown in CoMomen’s and women’s NCAA South Regional titles for the fi rst time since 2002. Racing the region meet in Gainesville, Florida, at Mark Bostick Golf Course, the 15th-ranked Lady Vols won their fi rst region title since 2005, while the 21st-ranked Vols captured back-to-back region crowns for the fi rst time since 1994-95.With their regional titles, both teams will race next weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the 2023 NCAA Cross Country Championships. It is the fi rst time both teams have qualifi ed for the national meet since 2005.For the women, it will be their fi rst appearance at the NCAA National Championships since 2006, while the men are making back-to-back trips to the NCAA meet for the fi rst 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.”The Lady Vols secured their place at the NCAA Championships by clinching the South Re-gion title with 61 points.Ashley Jones led the charge for Tennessee, crossing the line at 18:52.9 and securing an im-pressive seventh-place fi nish. Hot on her heels were teammates Jillian Candelino and Jessie Secor, fi nishing 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 fi nish, while Caroline Lyerly rounded out UT’s top fi ve with a time of 19:12.7.All fi ve Lady Vols clinched NCAA All-Region honors with their placements. They were joined on the All-Region podium by Kayla Gholar who fi nished 23rd overall.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 fi nish line at 28:41.3, se-curing 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 fi nish line in 11th place in 29:15.6. Eli Nahom and Jacob Lewis brought the Vols home, fi nishing 17th and 31st with times of 29:30.6 and 29:50.8, respectively.
Women’s 6K – 1st of 29 – 61 points7. Ashley Jones – 18:52.910. Jillian Candelino – 18:55.011. Jessie Secor – 18:57.712. Rachel Sutliff – 19:00.121. Caroline Lyerly – 19:12.7—Kayla Gholar – 19:15.2Andie-Marie Jones – 19:56.7Men’s 10K – 1st of 23 – 68 points3. Yaseen Abdalla – 28:41.36. Gabriel Sanchez – 28:56.811. Dean Casey – 29:15.617. Eli Nahom – 29:30.631. Jacob Lewis – 29:50.8—Jacob Nenow – 30:06.1Brandon Olden – 30:12.8