NASHVILLE, Tenn. – University of Tennessee at Martin speedster Ann Asipan became just the fifth athlete in Ohio Valley Conference history to win back-to-back Athlete of the Championship and individual medalist honors at the OVC Cross Country Championships on Saturday morning. Behind the championship effort by Asipan, the Skyhawk women finished fifth overall as a team.
UT Martin posted the team’s second-best finish in school history with its fifth place finish, ranking only behind the squad’s fourth place finish in the 1995 championship. Threatening throughout the competition, the Skyhawks finished just five points out of third place while posting the team’s lowest 5k team average of 18:04 in school history.
Asipan stole the show once again in her second OVC Championship, narrowly edging out OVC Cross Country Female of the Year Charlotte Imer by just under a second with a time of 17:03.9. Asipan’s time just missed her previous personal record set at the 2015 OVC Championship by one-tenth of a second. With her performance, Asipan took home her second consecutive Athlete of the Championship trophy along with All-OVC first team honors.
Joining in the action for the South Region’s No. 13 ranked squad was strong performance from the supporting cast which featured four personal bests. Freshman Kara Martin posted a 24th place finish with a PR time of 18:09.9 while the trio of Nelly Kandie, Amelia Martin and Emma Edmonds were close behind. All five athletes finished in the top-32 with Kandie setting a PR at 18:19.8 with Martin right behind at 18:20.3. Edmonds rounded out the scoring-five with a time of 18:21.9 to rank as the fastest time for the freshman.
After being picked to finish seventh in the OVC Preseason Poll, every scorer saved arguably their best performance for the OVC Championship. All five scorers crossed the line by 18:20.3, ranking as the fastest time for the squad this season while the team’s average of 18:04 ranked more than 20 seconds faster than the previous season-best.
“We got a little unlucky with respect to the final place, but overall I couldn’t be more proud of this women’s team,” said UT Martin head coach Peter Dalton. ‘With so many personal records with such a young team along with Ann taking the individual win, it was a great day! There is a lot more to come from these ladies.”
Asipan and the Skyhawks will now turn their focus to the NCAA South Regional on Friday, Nov. 11.