CARBONDALE, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin cross country teams got off to a strong start in its 2014 spring track opener over the weekend, taking part in the Southern Illinois Invitational at the SIU Recreation Center.
In the 3000 meter run, senior Colin Johnson broke the school’s long standing record with a time of 8:51.20. Johnson’s speedy pace broke the previous record of 8:55.9 which was set in 1998. Joining Johnson in the top-10 was Justin Morgan who was just off the school’s record with a time of 8:56.25 to finish eighth in the field. Joining the duo in the 3000 meter run was Dalton Hudlow (9:23.44) and Josiah Roberts (10:20.17).
A pair of Skyhawks battled in the 3000 meter run on the women’s side, led by Hayley Doty’s time of 11:23.76. Joining Doty in the action was Olivia Owens who finished with a personal-best time of 11:39.90.
Competing in the women’s one mile run was Heather Mullis who led the Skyhawk pack with a time of 5:53.11. Sophomore Abby Frantom trailed with a time of 6:10.04.
Four men competed in the men’s one mile run, paced by freshman Joey DeSantis. DeSantis finished with a time of 4:40.65. Alazar Haile recorded a time of 4:46.40 while Mark Graubner (5:08.54) and Zach Phifer (5:09.61) placed back-to-back finishes.
“With only 3 weeks of team practice underway this year, a dozen of the team fit in an indoor meet for an early season test. It turned out better than we expected,” said UT Martin coach Gordon Sanders. “In the 3K, Colin broke a 16 year old UTM record with Justin only ½ a second from the old record. Dalton waited a few seconds too long for his final move and was a step short of winning his heat, but still had a big drop in his personal best. The ladies 3K went well with Hayley pacing to her best and Olivia racing to the front pack of her heat for a very large personal best. In the mile, Joey ran aggressively to within a few seconds of his best while Heather ran her 3rd best mark. This kind of positive start is what we needed to confirm we are ahead of our season’s goals.”
The Skyhawks return to their track portion of the schedule on Saturday, March 15 when they travel to the Rhodes Invitational in Memphis.