EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Tennessee at Martin cross country teams returned to competition this afternoon with a strong showing at the Stegemoller Classic hosted by Southern Indiana in Evansville. Highlighting the race was the performance of sophomore standout Edwin Kurgat while the Skyhawk women ran tough with a runner-up finish in the final team standings.
Fresh off both the men’s (No. 14) and women’s (No. 15) squads receiving regional rankings by the USTFCCCA, the team’s returned to competition following a two-week hiatus against some of the top teams nationally from varying divisions.
The Skyhawk women’s squad would post a strong showing, finishing second overall with 94 points in the 5k event. Leading the way for the Skyhawks was sophomore Kara Martin who posted a huge personal record with a time of 17:46.6 to finished second as an individual and mark the fourth fastest time in program history. Martin surpasses her previous PR time by over 25 seconds to lead the way.
Behind the speedster was the quartet of Nelly Kandie (18:44.4), Ashely Bryja (18:51.5), Amelia Martin (18:54.8) and Agok Ayuen (19:02.3). The group would run competitively, spreading the 2-5 scorers out by just 18 seconds with Ayuen showing the biggest PR improvement of 38 seconds. As a whole, the Skyhawk women would take a combined two minutes off their time from the first meet of the season.
On the men’s side, it was a familiar name in Kurgat – the OVC’s reigning Runner of the Week – who stole the show once again. Pacing the Skyhawks in every collegiate race of his young career, Kurgat shattered the previous program record in the 8k with a time of 23:59.1 by nearly a full minute to win individual honors.
Also joining in the action for the Skyhawk men with PRs were sophomores Ryan Ford (25:02.0), Austin Rogers (25:50.0) and Marcos Macias (26:17.2) while freshman Daniel Smith posted a time of 26:37.6.
“The ladies competed very smart and very tough today and showed exactly why they are a regionally ranked team,” said UT Martin head coach Peter Dalton. “For the men, Edwin just controlled the race and was so patient early. Ryan, Marcos and Daniel all PR’d today and we are just starting real speed work. There’s a lot more to come from both teams and we still have athletes to add to the mix.”
UT Martin will return to action at the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, Sept. 30.