Skyhawk Men's Cross-Country | Peter Dalton - Head Coach
Peter Dalton enters his second season as the head coach of both the men's and women's cross country teams along with leading the women's indoor and outdoor track squads after being hired in January of 2015.
During his brief time in Martin, Dalton has coached 10 school record holders - from the 400 meters to the 10,000 meters - and guided Ann Asipan to the first ever OVC Conference Champion for the Skyhawks. Asipan made an immediate impact on the conference by claiming the OVC Cross Country individual title - in a school record time of 17:03 for 5,000 meters - at the 2015 championships. Rallying behind Asipan was the highest women’s team finish for the Skyhawks at the OVC Women’s Cross Country Championships in seven years. Additionally, the ladies team posted the highest ever team GPA with a 3.66.
During the 2016 track season numerous Skyhawks rewrote the record books with mid-distance speed and distance strength. Jonathan Conley smashed the 800 meter school record at the Auburn Invitational with a time of 1:53.22. Conley went on to also break the school 400 meter record. On the strength side of the track, Joey DeSantis took more than 90 seconds off his previous best 10,000 meter mark, with a time of 31:25, for another school record for the men during the outdoor season. For the ladies, Asipan lowered the mile school record to 5:03.56 at the Rhodes Invitational while Chantal Wilson stormed to a new personal and school record of 10:26 for the 3,000 meters. Completing the full-spectrum of distance records, Amelia Martin took 95 seconds off her previous best 10,000 meter time, and in the process set another Skyhawk record, with a time of 38:37 at the Joey Haines Invitational.
Dalton comes to UT Martin after a stellar career at King University where he turned the men’s and women’s cross country teams into NCAA Division II Southeast Region powers. Dalton served as head men’s and women’s cross country coach for the past seven years. He also served as a coach in the track and field program, including the title of head coach from 2010-12.
Dalton led the cross country teams through King's transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II. In their first-ever NCAA Regional meet in 2010, the King women's cross country team finished second at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships, becoming King's first team to qualify for an NCAA Championship in the first year as a full NCAA Division II member.
The women followed that up with a third place finish in their first Conference Carolinas Championship in 2011, before running off a string of three consecutive conference championships from 2012-14. On the men's side, King has finished as the Conference Carolinas runner-up during each of the four years in the conference and has twice qualified for the NCAA Championships by finishing in the top three at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship in 2012 and 2013.
Dalton has been named Conference Carolinas Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year each of the past three seasons and has earned three track and field conference coach of the year awards. All of these awards came in the 2012-13 season that saw King win three of a possible four Conference Carolinas track and field championships.
Including four Conference Carolinas championships in indoor and outdoor track and field from 2012-13, Dalton led the Tornado to a total of seven Conference Carolinas championships in cross country and track and field, and coached three different teams and multiple individuals to the NCAA Championships. In addition, the cross country teams consistently finished with a GPA amongst the highest in the country, receiving the USTFCCCA Scholar Team award multiple times.
Nearly every King record in cross country and track has been broken during the last seven years, and numerous student-athletes have earned all-conference and all-region honors, in addition to numerous individual and team academic honors.
Coaching runs in the Dalton family as his father was a seven-time Irish National team manager for the World Champions. Continuous involvement at the highest coaching levels worldwide has prepared Dalton with all the necessary knowledge, passion and love of the sport to help give back to those that wish to succeed. Dalton's coaching exposure began at an early age under the tutelage of Irish Olympians Noel Berkeley and Gerry McGrath. Both Olympic legends have scientifically studied the art of distance running at the highest level and that experience is the foundation of Coach Dalton's coaching philosophy. Dalton was also fortunate enough to experience first-hand the coaching theories of NCAA Hall of Fame Coach Dave Walker during his time as a student-athlete at East Tennessee State University.
Dalton received his bachelor's degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University where he was a four-year cross country and track and field athlete for the Buccaneers. Dalton, a two-year captain, led the Buccaneers to the inaugural Atlantic Sun Indoor Track and Field Conference Championships and to the highest Buccaneer Cross Country conference finish in 12 years. Dalton was named to numerous all-conference and all-academic teams for both cross country and track and field during his time at ETSU and was also named the Buccaneers MVP for two consecutive seasons.
Before arriving at East Tennessee State University, Dalton competed eight times for his native Ireland. As part of the D.S.D. Athletic Club, Dalton and his teammates won a record-setting eight consecutive national team titles and went on to finish third at the European Junior Clubs Cross Country Championships. He rose to prominence when he captured Ireland's first ever international victory at the British and Irish Mountain Running Championships, and went on to secure a 21st place finish at the World Championships.