By Holly Weber, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn.—With two weeks from their last meet and numerous hours of work put in to prepare them, the Tennessee Tech men and women's cross country teams are roaring to get back into action. The Golden Eagles will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday to participate in the Crimson Classic with over 38 teams from various power conferences.
"It's fantastic to see the number of teams that will be competing this week," head coach Wayne Angel remarked. "This is by far the toughest competition that we have faced this year. It's going to be a great experience for both squads; there will be a number of teams that are nationally and regionally ranked in attendance."
The race will be featured at the Harry Pritchett Running Park, where the Tech men will compete in an 8,000-meter race beginning at 9 a.m. The Golden Eagle women will participate in a 5,000-meter race with a shotgun start at 9:45 a.m.
"We will definitely have to step it up a notch or two mentally, as well as physically. This meet will be a true test to define who we are as a team." Angel said.
Leading the way on the men's side is freshman sensation Gilbert Boit. Boit has paced the Tennessee Tech team in every meet thus far this season, breaking Golden Eagle school records in the process. In his most recent showing at the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 1, Boit placed fourth overall in the men's gold race with an 8K time of 23:59.70, his best time in the 8K thus far this year, while leading Tech to a 13th place overall finish in a field of 21 teams.
"Boit is having an outstanding season," Angel continued. "I look for him to continue to build on his past successes. Team strength will be down this week, as we will not be running our number two runner, Paul Patterson, due to groin strain. We will need the rest of the team to step up and make up for his absence. The trio of Williamson, Bernard, and Cheplak has been very consistent throughout the season. I look for a breakthrough this week."
Micayla Rennick leads the Golden Eagle women this season, finishing first for Tech in every meet thus far. In her last showing at the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 1, Rennick finished first overall in the women's blue race with a career-best 5K time of 17:53.62, leading the Golden Eagle women to a first place finish amongst six teams.
"Our women are starting to turn the corner," Angel remarked. "Micayla is having a fantastic season and is on course to becoming one of the greatest distance runners in Tech history. Sarah Brandt and last year's team MVP Purity Murray are looking really good as well, and they have had some super training sessions."
"Our goal this week is continued improvement," Angel said. "We want to come away from this meet with a positive experience."
You can follow the Golden Eagle cross country teams online on the TTU Sports Facebook page or on Twitter at @TTUGoldenEagles.
Photo by Thomas Corhern