SKYHAWK CROSS COUNTRY RANKINGS BODES WELL FOR SUCCESSFUL SEASON
August 29, 2017
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin cross country program will hit the road to open the season on Friday, Sept. 1 with its first meet of the fall season at the Covered Bridge Invitational held in Boone, NC.
The Skyhawks will look to get the season off on the right foot after garnering some respect in preseason polls and predictions. In a preseason vote of head cross country coaches in the Ohio Valley Conference, the Skyhawk women were projected to finish fifth in the quest for an OVC title while the men were tabbed sixth. The preseason rankings both serve as the highest prediction for each team in program history. With the prediction in place, the Skyhawks will look to eclipse the preseason projection for the third consecutive season during the current coaching era.
Along with the OVC predictions, the Skyhawk women have been picked 14th in the South Region according to the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Regional Cross Country rankings which were released on Monday. After receiving a regional ranking last season for the first time while finishing 12th at the NCAA South Regional as a team, the Skyhawks garnered their first preseason ranking in program history.
UT Martin will put its strength to the test with the season opener at the Covered Bridge Open on Friday evening. Several key athletes to watch is Kara Martin, Ashley Bryja, Ryan Ford, Edwin Kurgat and Brian Kiprop.
Martin enters her second year in the program after posting a sub-18 5k track personal record last season while Bryja will make her Skyhawk debut after performing as an Illinois all-state standout. On the men’s side, sophomores Ryan Ford will look to build upon his indoor 3k PR of 8:21 while Edwin Kurgat returns as the reigning OVC 5k outdoor track champion with a PR time of 14:27. Highlighting a star-studded freshman crop of athletes is Brian Kiprop who brings international racing experience to the fold for an immediate impact in the scoring lineup.
“We are thrilled with the direction which our program is heading,” said Peter Dalton. “The ladies have picked up right where they left off being recognized amongst the top programs in the region. The men are looking to take a similar leap as the women did a year ago as our program continues to rise within the region. We are interested to see how our men take the next step in their progression as we build toward the podium at the conference level and into the top-10 at the regional level.”
2017 Cross Country Schedule
Friday, Sept. 1 at Covered Bridge Invitational (Boone, NC)
Saturday, Sept. 16 at Stegemoller Classic (Evansville, Ind.)
Saturday, Sept. 30 at Greater Louisville Classic (Louisville, Ky.)
Friday, Oct. 13 at Crimson Classic (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Saturday, Oct. 28 at OVC Championships (Charleston, Ill.)
Friday, Nov. 10 at NCAA South Regional Championships (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)