Tech cross country ends season at NCAA South Regional

Tech cross country ends season at NCAA South Regional

By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Two male and four female Tennessee Tech cross country runners appeared at the NCAA South Regional Friday morning in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to see how they stacked up against a combined 392 other runners around the region.

Purity Sanga, Micayla Rennick, Madison Stremler and Anna Cooper competed in the women's 6k at Alabama's Harry Pritchett Running Park, while Gilbert Boit and Brannon Cheplak were in the men's 10k.

Freshman Purity Sanga paced the Tech women with an eighth-place finish and a time of 20:16.4, earning All-South Region honors and breaking the school record previously held by senior Rennick. Sanga was the highest-finishing freshman in the field, and her eighth-place finish also marked the highest-ever regional finish by a Tennessee Tech runner, male or female.

Although she missed the cut-off for the top four automatic individual qualifiers, Sanga can possibly earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships next weekend.

Rennick followed in 101st at 21:59.3. Stremler placed 198th at 23:58.4, and Cooper was close behind in 207th with a time of 24:07.8.

Rennick, Stremler and Cooper all ran their last races for Tech women's cross country.

On the men's side, Boit placed 13th with a time of 31:07.7, earning All-South Region honors, and Cheplak followed in 35th at 32:04.0.

"I'm very proud of Purity and Gilbert," said head coach Wayne Angel. "They put it all on the line today and represented Tennessee Tech with class.

"They both finished in the top 15 in both of their respective races in very competitive fields. The future is very bright for Tennessee Tech cross country."

FINAL MEN'S TEAM STANDINGS (TOP 5)

  1. Middle Tennessee State (71 points) – No. 21 in the USTFCCCA National Coaches' Poll
  2. Ole Miss (76 points) – No. 29 in the National Coaches' Poll
  3. Alabama (95 points) – No. 28 in the National Coaches' Poll
  4. Florida State (128 points) – No. 4 in the USTFCCCA South Region
  5. Tennessee (165 points) – No. 6 in the South Region

FINAL WOMEN'S TEAM STANDINGS (TOP 5)

  1. Ole Miss (59 points) – No. 22 in the USTFCCCA National Coaches' Poll
  2. Georgia (73 points) – No. 14 in the National Coaches' Poll
  3. Samford (94 points) – No. 7 in the USTFCCCA South Region
  4. Florida State (129 points) – No. 5 in the South Region
  5. Georgia Tech (186 points) – No. 8 in the South Region

Bold italics indicate teams automatically advancing to the 2017 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on Nov. 18

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Photo courtesy of Tennessee Tech cross country