Skyhawk Men's Cross-Country/Track | Peter Dalton - Head Coach
Peter Dalton enters his fourth season as the head coach of both the men's and women's cross country teams along with leading the men's and women's indoor and outdoor track squads for the third year after being hired in January of 2015.
During his time at UT Martin, Dalton has taken the program to unprecedented success. Not only has his squads rewritten the majority of the program’s record books, he has coached a pair of All-Americans and Ohio Valley Conference champions in Ann Asipan and Edwin Kurgat.
Asipan not only holds several program records in both the cross country (17:03.8) and track (16:06.5) 5k events but also the mile, was a two-time OVC cross country individual champion in 2015 and 2016. Along with her conference accolades, Asipan became a national qualifier in the program’s first outdoor season, setting a program mark of 16:06 in the 5k to garner All-American honors.
Kurgat followed a similar path, winning the OVC cross country championship in 2017 – notching the third straight year that UT Martin produced an individual championship – while earning All-American honors of his own with a 21st place finish at the national championship. Kurgat still holds the program records in both the cross country 8k (23:41.0) and 10k (29:44.0) along with the indoor (14:42.2) and outdoor track 5k events.
In cross country, UT Martin finished in the top half of the conference with fifth place finishes by both squads despite youthful experience on the roster in 2017. The men’s team took its next step, ranking 13th in the south region after an impressive showing at the NCAA South Regional, notching the best finish in program history – besting regional powers Florida and East Tennessee State. All of which came on the heels of a 12th place finish by the women’s squad in 2016.
The growth of the program’s reintroduced indoor and outdoor track squads turned a corner during the 2018 season. With the roster growing to 50 members – in just its second year – the added depth led to numerous school records. During the 2018 season alone, the Skyhawks set new school marks in the men’s 100m (10.62), 800m (1:51.6) and 1500m (3:50.5) along with the women’s 1500m (4:54.5). Other top individual performances were produced by Kara Martin, Jonathan Conley, Leonel Perez and Ryan Ford. At the OVC Championships, Martin notched a third place 3k indoor time (9:55.62) while finishing in fourth place in the 1500m (4:42.59) outdoor finals. Conley was also impressive at the indoor championships with a runner-up finish in the 800m with a time of 1:55.9. At the outdoor championship, Perez posted a 1500m time to finish second while Ford finished fourth in the 5k at 15:31.91. Perez also holds the school’s 1500m record with a time of 3:48.92.
Dalton comes to UT Martin after a stellar career at King University where he turned the men’s and women’s cross country teams into NCAA Division II Southeast Region powers. Dalton served as head men’s and women’s cross country coach for the past seven years. He also served as a coach in the track and field program, including the title of head coach from 2010-12.
Dalton led the cross country teams through King's transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II. In their first-ever NCAA Regional meet in 2010, the King women's cross country team finished second at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships, becoming King's first team to qualify for an NCAA Championship in the first year as a full NCAA Division II member.
The women followed that up with a third place finish in their first Conference Carolinas Championship in 2011, before running off a string of three consecutive conference championships from 2012-14. On the men's side, King has finished as the Conference Carolinas runner-up during each of the four years in the conference and has twice qualified for the NCAA Championships by finishing in the top three at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship in 2012 and 2013.
Dalton has been named Conference Carolinas Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year each of the past three seasons and has earned three track and field conference coach of the year awards. All of these awards came in the 2012-13 season that saw King win three of a possible four Conference Carolinas track and field championships.
Including four Conference Carolinas championships in indoor and outdoor track and field from 2012-13, Dalton led the Tornado to a total of seven Conference Carolinas championships in cross country and track and field, and coached three different teams and multiple individuals to the NCAA Championships. In addition, the cross country teams consistently finished with a GPA amongst the highest in the country, receiving the USTFCCCA Scholar Team award multiple times.
Nearly every King record in cross country and track has been broken during the last seven years, and numerous student-athletes have earned all-conference and all-region honors, in addition to numerous individual and team academic honors.
Coaching runs in the Dalton family as his father was a seven-time Irish National team manager for the World Champions. Continuous involvement at the highest coaching levels worldwide has prepared Dalton with all the necessary knowledge, passion and love of the sport to help give back to those that wish to succeed. Dalton's coaching exposure began at an early age under the tutelage of Irish Olympians Noel Berkeley and Gerry McGrath. Both Olympic legends have scientifically studied the art of distance running at the highest level and that experience is the foundation of Coach Dalton's coaching philosophy. Dalton was also fortunate enough to experience first-hand the coaching theories of NCAA Hall of Fame Coach Dave Walker during his time as a student-athlete at East Tennessee State University.
Dalton received his bachelor's degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University where he was a four-year cross country and track and field athlete for the Buccaneers. Dalton, a two-year captain, led the Buccaneers to the inaugural Atlantic Sun Indoor Track and Field Conference Championships and to the highest Buccaneer Cross Country conference finish in 12 years. Dalton was named to numerous all-conference and all-academic teams for both cross country and track and field during his time at ETSU and was also named the Buccaneers MVP for two consecutive seasons.
Before arriving at East Tennessee State University, Dalton competed eight times for his native Ireland. As part of the D.S.D. Athletic Club, Dalton and his teammates won a record-setting eight consecutive national team titles and went on to finish third at the European Junior Clubs Cross Country Championships. He rose to prominence when he captured Ireland's first ever international victory at the British and Irish Mountain Running Championships, and went on to secure a 21st place finish at the World Championships.