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Cross Country focus shifts to Southern Hills for TTU Invitational

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Five women's teams and three men's squads will compete Friday in the annual Tennessee Tech University Invitational Cross Country Meet, to be held at Southern Hills Golf Course. Joining the host Golden Eagles in the men's 8K race at 3 p.m. will be Ohio Valley Conference foes Jacksonville State and Tennessee State. The women's 5K run, scheduled for 4 p.m., will feature those same three OVC schools, plus teams from Alabama A&M and Chattanooga. A handful of unattached runners will also join the field.

"Being our home meet, we consider this to be one of our most important meets of the year," said Tech coach Tony Cox. "This is where we start making decisions on who is going to run in the conference meet. I think the weather is going to be great on Friday, and we're excited about hosting."

The men's lineup for Cox will include all 10 runners on the roster. Junior John Greene of Friendsville, Tenn., has led Tech in its first two meets this fall, taking sixth overall at the Sewanee Invitational and 20th at the Georgia State Invitational. Greene established new career-best times in both meets.

Tech's next three runners across the finish line in both 2011 races were sophomore Matthew Bishop from Morristown, junior Mike Mahan from Tullahoma, and sophomore Adam McLeod from Kingsport.

"John and Matt have been leaders all year," Cox said. "They've really worked hard this year and it's paying off right now."

A team of 14 runners will represent Tech in the women's race, with sophomore Peri Winborne of Knoxville expected to headline the field for the third consecutive meet. She was 29th overall at the Sewanee meet and 35th at Georgia State. After that, a handful of runners will push Winborne for the team lead, including sophomore Rebecca Cline of Spring Hill, sophomore Elizabeth Miller from Watertown, Wis., senior Traci Jones from AIken, S.C., and junior Leah Bradley from McDonough, Ga.

"On the women's side, we have several at the top who are really close," Cox said. "We have a pretty tight group there with not much spread in the results. That's a good thing in a way because if somebody has a bad day, somebody else is right there to help them out."

Tech's runners have become familiar with the layout at Southern Hills, which includes a couple of challenging hills and some breathtaking scenery throughout the course.

"It's a hilly course. It's probably one of the hardest courses we race on during the year, but it's a good course," Cox said. "There is a lot of variety and it is a good spectator course."

The meet is open to the public and admission and parking are free.