COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Two members of the Tennessee Tech men's cross country team and six from the women's squad will compete Friday in the NCAA South Regional, hosted by the University of Alabama at Harry Pritchett Running Park in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Coach Wayne Angel's runners will join some of the most outstanding distance runners in the nation Friday morning. The women will compete over a distance of 6K, beginning at 9 a.m. The men's 10K race is scheduled for a 10 a.m. starting gun.
The Tech women have run the 6K distance one time this season, that coming at the Furman Classic on Sept. 12, the second meet of the season. In that event, junior Sarah Brandt paced the Golden Eagles with a time of 22:43.58 to place 35th overall. Freshman Jenna Storms was close behind in 23:05.11 to place 42nd.
Junior Purity Murray, who has come on strong over the second half of the season, was third that day in 23:32.53.
The balance of Tech's lineup includes Angela Jepchirchir, Sonel Bezuidenhout and Madison Stremler. All of them were in the Tech lineup at Furman, so all have run the 6K distance.
"The ladies are very excited to see how they will fare as a distance program in the South Region," Angel said. "I believe we have the potential to be a Top 20 team. They have trained very hard and I'm hopeful that we will see a very good team performance by our women."
Juniors Geoffrey Sambu and Daniel Williamson will represent Tech in the men's race. They will run the 10-kilometer distance for the first time this season in competition.
"Sambu will try to earn another All-South Region honor and Dan will garner some great experience from these championships. It will serve him well in the future," Angel said.
Last year, Sambu had the highest regional finish in school history when he placed 13th at the event held in Tallahassee, Fla. He finished that circuit in the time of 30:51.6 for his career-best 10K time. Williamson has not run a 10K race as a Golden Eagle.
A total of 27 men's and 36 women's teams are slated to compete in this year's South Region Championships. The top two teams in each race will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships, while the remaining teams wait for the announcement of the at-large selections made by the NCAA Division I Cross Country Subcommittee. Additionally, a total of 38 individuals not on an advancing team will also move on to the national meet for each gender, with 36 of those automatically qualifying by being one of the top four finishers in the region not on an advancing team, while two others will be at-large selections.