LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Tennessee at Martin cross country teams posted another strong showing at the Greater Louisville Classic against some of the region’s marque programs over the weekend.
Competing in its third meet of the season, the Skyhawks made the trek over to the Blue Grass State for the Greater Louisville Classic which hosted programs from all over the country. With 30 Division I programs competing at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, UT Martin’s men’s squad finished in the top half of the entire meet – including victories over ACC programs North Carolina, Miami and Louisville - while the women continued to make significant strides.
Highlighting the men’s squad was the performance of sophomore standout Edwin Kurgat. Fresh off setting yet another program record, Kurgat returned to his record-setting pace with a ninth place finish out of 278 Division I individuals with a time of 23:40.96. His time shattered his previous record set two weeks ago by 19 seconds. As a whole, Kurgat has posted five of the program’s six fastest times in just parts of two seasons.
While Kurgat paced the Skyhawk squad once again, the men’s team as a whole continues to show improvement. Compared to average times from a season ago, the men’s squad averaged a team time of 25:52 while this season the Skyhawks trimmed 48 seconds off the cumulative average with a pace of 25:04.
Joining in the action with personal records was Ryan Ford (24:58.93), Brian Chelide (25:10.81), Austin Rogers (25:24.84), Andrew Dodson (26:06.40), Daniel Smith (26:14.10) and Lenny Baumann (26:48.37) while Marcos Macias notched a time of 26:28.02.
On the ladies’ side, a pile-up at the top of the pack would result in a domino effect of lower team totals. Despite the collisions which altered the meet, Nelly Kandie (18:31.29) and Amelia Martin (18:33.73) posted strong respective times.
“The men took a huge step and showed they are ready for the next level,” said UT Martin head coach Peter Dalton. “To take almost a minute off the team average from just a year ago, shows that our patient approach to each athlete as an individual results in strong team performances like we saw at Louisville. The best news is everyone on the men’s squad is a sophomore or younger. There is much more to come.”
UT Martin will return to action in its final tune-up before the OVC Championships with an appearance at the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Friday, Oct. 13.