MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s and women’s track and field teams got the outdoor season started off on the right foot by winning four different events while setting six new school records at the Rhodes College Invitational over the weekend.
The Skyhawks continue to impress in the squad’s first track and field season since being reintroduced after a 14-year hiatus. While the team is young in experience at the Division I level, the Skyhawks have done nothing but grow with every passing meet. That trend continued at the Rhodes Invite as the teams won the men’s 800m, men’s mile, men’s 5k and women’s 5k.
“Sweeping the men’s events from 800 meters to the 5k was exciting,” said UT Martin head coach Peter Dalton. “The sprint squad is really starting to hit their stride just at the right time. We’re excited for more school and personal records to fall as the season continues.”
Action got underway in the men’s 100m event where freshman Jaylon Moore put on a show. Moore posted a time of 11.02 seconds to break the program’s long standing previous record time of 11.14 set in 1999.
The stage then turned its focus to junior Jonathan Conley who excelled in a pair of events. Conley got things started in the 200m event where he posted a blistering time of 22.63 – setting yet another program record. His time broke the previous mark of 22.68 by 0.03 seconds set during the 1999 season. He then continued his star-studded performance in the 800m dash by posting a time of 1:54.24 to claim the event title in the 39-man field while finishing just a second off his own program record.
Transitioning into the distance events, sophomore Leonel Perez posted a strong outing in the men’s mile. Perez notched a time of 4:19.13 to notch the men’s squad second event title of the day by besting 69 competitors.
The Skyhawks continued their title streak in the men’s 5k event with their third victory. Freshman phenom Edwin Kurgat outmatched 68 competitors by setting a new school record with a time of 14:47.96. Kurgat’s new personal-record time surpassed the program’s previous mark by over 19 seconds. Also in the event was fellow freshman Ryan Ford who posted a fourth place finish with a new PR time of 15:05.39 – which also would have broken the previous school mark.
Over in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, freshman Austin Rogers excelled in his first collegiate outdoor meet by notching a school record of his own. Rogers finished the event with a time of 9:33.51 to finish fourth overall – shattering the previous record by nine seconds to set a new PR.
Back in the sprint events, the foursome of Joseph Este, Porter Streator III, Rakeem Battle and Brandon Anderson stepped to the track and walked away with a set of new PRs of their own in the men’s 4x100m relay. The quartet posted a time of 43.78 which narrowly missed out on the program’s record time set in 1999.
Wrapping up the Invite for the Skyhawks on the men’s side was freshman Cameron Murrell. Murrell excelled in the 400m hurdles by setting a new program standard with a time of 1:02.17.
On the women’s side, it was freshman Bryana Maclin who highlighted the 100m hurdles event with a time of 15.85 to set a PR while finishing just one second off the program’s record.
Senior standout Ann Asipan joined in the record-breaking action once again in the women’s 5k. Asipan posted a record-breaking time of 16:39.71 to not only win the event in a loaded 66-athlete field but demolish the program’s previous record mark by over 86 seconds. Joining in the action was freshman Lydia Lee who posted a time of 18:03.94 to finish 12th and notch a new PR.
UT Martin will return to the track for its next meet at the Bill Cornell Classic hosted by Southern Illinois on Saturday, March 25.