OXFORD, Ala. – The University of Tennessee at Martin track and field squads debuted the team’s relaunched program at the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championships over the weekend at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Ala. hosted by Jacksonville State.
The Skyhawks would conclude the team portion of the 2017 track and field season with the program’s first appearance in the OVC Outdoor Championships over the weekend. Despite zero championship experience, the Skyhawks would take nice strides in their first appearance as the team tallied one victory and three podium finishes.
“To finish off our very first year with multiple podium performances is amazing,” said UT Martin head coach Peter Dalton. “The athletes have embraced the opportunity. Even though this is the end of the season for the vast majority of our athletes, I am certain this is only the beginning of even greater success for Skyhawk track.”
Highlighting the weekend was the performance of freshman standout Edwin Kurgat who burst onto the stage in a big way. After staying with the pack for much of the race, Kurgat would break lose over the final three laps to earn an OVC championship in the men’s 5k with a time of 14:55.86 to lead the field. Also in the event, freshman Ryan Ford left his mark by adding points to the team total with an eighth place finish with a time of 15:23.85.
After already clinching a spot in the NCAA East Regionals to be held May 25-27 in Lexington, Ky. in the 5k event, Ann Asipan looked to leave her mark on another event. Asipan would step down in distance in the 1500m event while posting a second place finish with a time of 4:26.3. Despite finishing second in the event, her school record setting time still ranked faster than the previous OVC Championship record time. Meanwhile freshman Kara Martin also posted a strong time in the event, finishing sixth with a time of 4:35.87.
In the men’s 1500m it was sophomore Leonel Perez who posted the Skyhawks third podium finish of the championship with a new PR time of 3:53.11.
Also posting strong showings was the male duo of Antonio Clifton and Cameron Murrell. Clifton placed sixth in his championship debut with a distance of 6.94m (22’ 9¼”) in the men’s long jump. Meanwhile, Murrell ran a new PR in the men’s 400m with a time of 58.63.
The Skyhawks also received team points from the ladies 4x100 relay of Ivana Cherry, Malia Sanders, Maya Brown and Jasmyn Pilcher with a time of 50.31.
Wrapping up the event was the performance of freshman Emma Edmonds. Edmonds would pace the Skyhawks in the 5k event with a time of 18:07.74 to finish 11th in a field of 34.