By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With about a month left until its first meet, Tennessee Tech cross country has announced its competition schedule for the upcoming 2017 season.
This slate again includes a home meet to open the season, as well as select opportunities to race against regional and nationally ranked opponents on the road.
"We are fired up for the upcoming season," said head coach Wayne Angel. "This schedule works perfectly with our training plan that we will be utilizing throughout the season."
September will prove to be the busiest month for the Golden Eagles, featuring one home and three road meets.
Tech begins its 2017 campaign on Sept. 2 with the Golden Eagle Invitational, its lone meet in Cookeville, at Ironwood Golf Course.
The Golden Eagle women stay in-state Sept. 16, traveling just down the road to Nashville for the Vanderbilt-hosted Commodore Classic. The following weekend on Sept. 23, Tech's men's and women's sides will compete at Florida's Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville, Florida. The men close out the month in Bloomington, Indiana, at the Sam Bell Invitational on Sept. 30.
October will feature just one regular-season meet before Tech enters postseason competition. The Golden Eagles head to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Oct. 13 for Alabama's Crimson Classic and will then have just over two weeks to prepare for the Ohio Valley Conference Championships on Oct. 28 in Charleston, Illinois. Eastern Illinois will play host to the championships for the first time since 2005.
Qualifying Golden Eagles can return to Tuscaloosa for the NCAA South Regional on Nov. 11 and the following week's NCAA Championships on Nov. 18 in Louisville, Kentucky.
"We will start off at home and continue to build upon our successes as the season progresses," said Angel about his teams' schedules. "In October, the Crimson Classic will not only allow us the opportunity to face formidable competition but also expose the teams to the course for the NCAA South Regional meet. I am looking forward to building on our success from 2016."
Select meet times will be announced closer to each competition date.
Both Tech teams are coming off successful 2016 campaigns both on and off the course. Academically, the USTFCCCA named Tech to the list of 2016 NCAA Division I men and women's cross country All-Academic Teams, with the men earning a cumulative GPA of 3.01 and the women totaling 3.37. The honor marked the first-ever on the men's side and the second on the women's.
The Golden Eagle men placed fifth at the 2016 OVC Championships in October with 139 points, matching its highest finish since 2009. Freshman Gilbert Boit won the program's first-ever individual OVC men's cross country title with the third-fastest 8k time in Tech history (24:20.9) and was also named Male Athlete of the Championship. At the NCAA South Regional in Tallahassee, Florida, Tech placed 11th as a team with 321 points. That finish marked the highest OVC squad (men's or women's) placement at the South Regional and the highest team finish by a Tennessee Tech squad at a regional in program history.
Boit enjoyed a highly decorated season, earning the conference honor of Male Freshman of the Year. At the South Regional, he placed 11th with a 10k time of 30:45.1, recording the highest finish of any OVC male or female runner and securing a spot on the All-Region team. Boit also owns the top four 8k times in Tech history after just one year of collegiate running.
On the women's side, Tech finished seventh at OVCs with 175 points, winning a tiebreaker with SIUE and marking the team's highest finish at the conference meet since it finished sixth in 2010. Junior Micayla Rennick placed sixth at 17:29.8, a personal-best for her and new 5k school record. The Golden Eagles moved on to the NCAA South Regional, where they finished in 21st place.
Rennick, a track & field transfer from American River College in Sacramento, California, earned All-OVC first team accolades thanks to her top-7 finish at the conference championship. She also led the Golden Eagles in every 2016 meet.
Photo by Thomas Corhern