October 16, 2017

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NEW ORLEANS, La. – For the third time this season, the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s cross country team 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 Ole Miss, Middle Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Florida State, Auburn, Belmont, North Florida, Georgia, Samford, Lipscomb and East Tennessee State while sitting one spot above league rival Tennessee Tech. With the nation’s Division I cross country programs split into nine geographical regions, UT Martin competes in the South Region which includes the states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

UT Martin retained its No. 14 regional ranking after an impressive showing at the Crimson Classic this past weekend. Serving as the team’s final tune-up before the Ohio Valley Conference Championships later in the month, the Skyhawks continues to take steps toward being a consistent regional power. Highlighting the men’s squad in the 8k event was the performance of sophomore Edwin Kurgat who posted a fifth place finish with a time of 23:50.2 which ranks as the second-fastest time in program history. His time also ranked nearly 70 seconds faster than his performance in the same meet a season ago.

Joining in the action was sophomore Ryan Ford who placed 28th overall with a time of 25:20.9 while freshman Brian Chelide’s time of 25:28.8 earned another top-50 finish for the squad. Meanwhile, freshmen Andrew Dodson (26:15.3) and Luke McNair (27:13.0) posted strong showings. As a team, UT Martin finished ninth overall out of 25 Division I universities.

“The men’s performance at the recent Crimson Classic - while resting our number three man - shows that the team can take that next step when it counts,” said UT Martin head coach Peter Dalton. “Rankings are nice, but the finish results during the championship season is what really matters. I know our men are ready to prove the ranking wrong and finish even higher.”

UT Martin will now shift its focus to preparing for the OVC Cross Country Championships hosted by Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 28.

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