NEW ORLEANS, La. – For the fourth time this season, the University of Tennessee at Martin cross country squad has been ranked 14th in the NCAA South region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
The Skyhawks sit 14th in the South region behind Middle Tennessee, Alabama, Ole Miss, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Georgia, Belmont, Lipscomb, North Florida, Auburn, East Tennessee State and Samford while ranking ahead Florida.
UT Martin retained its No. 14 regional ranking after posting a strong outing at the OVC Championships this past weekend. As a squad, the Skyhawks tied the team’s best finish in school history with its fifth place finish, surpassing preseason predictions in the OVC. The team’s composite score of 116 points also ranked as the best score, surpassing the previous record of 159 in 2011 while cutting over 80 seconds off last year’s team average with a time of 25:08 from 26:11.
Sophomore standout Edwin Kurgat stole the show in his second OVC Championship performance, outmatching the field by 14 full seconds to notch the men’s program first individual championship with a time of 23:59.8. With his performance, he also notched All-OVC first team honors. Notching his fourth individual title of the year, Kurgat posted the program’s third consecutive OVC individual champion for the Skyhawks, joining former women’s standout Ann Asipan who won back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016.
Joining in the action for the South Region’s No. 14 ranked squad were strong performances from the supporting cast en route to the team’s highest finish in program history. Sophomore Ryan Ford continued to impress, notching an 18th place finish with a time of 25:00.1 while fellow classmate Austin Rogers wasn’t far behind with a time of 25:12.4 to finish 24th. Wrapping up the team’s scoring performance was the freshman duo of Brian Chelide with a time of 25:35.2 while Daniel Smith crossed at 25:48.6. Freshman Luke McNair also posted a personal-best time of 26:19.7.
“After a hugely successful conference championship our men are ready to prove the ranking wrong once again,” said UT Martin head coach Peter Dalton. “I’m confident our men are ready to shoot for a top-10 finish at the regional.”
UT Martin will look to continue its success at the NCAA South Regional hosted by the University of Alabama on Friday, Nov. 10.