COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The 2014 Tennessee Tech cross country season begins Saturday morning under first-year coach Wayne Angel when the Golden Eagles compete at the Carolina Invitational, a race that will be held on Ft Jackson in Columbia, S.C., and hosted by the University of South Carolina
Angel, who joined the staff during the summer, has added several runners to the roster and will take a women's squad of eight runners and a men's team featuring 10 competitors. Of the eight women slated to race, four are returnees and four are newcomers. On the men's side, four of the 10 runners are new to the squad.
"I'm excited about getting things underway," Angel said. "It's been great getting to know the runners, both the returnees and the newcomers, and they are all really excited about competing. The schedule will present some challenges, and every runner is anxious to accept those challenges and see themselves improve, week after week."
The women will run a 5K race beginning at 9 a.m., followed at 9:30 a.m. by a men's race of the same distance. The field is expected to include Savannah State, Georgia Southern, The Citadel, South Carolina State, Pfeiffer, Presbyterian and host South Carolina.
The women's lineup will include returnees Yeshi Dohrmann, Landry Loving, Emily Williams and Sarah Wilson. Newcomers include Baylee Balgemann, Lera McNamara, Kathie O'Neill and Anna Cooper.
Returnees in the men's lineup include Brennan Huber, Wesley King, Sam Lariviere, Jordan Roth, Sterling Smith and Daniel Williamson. They will be joined by newcomers Ian Barclay, Geoffrey Sambu, Collin Gwaltney and Blake Rhoden.
The Carolina Invitational is the first step for Angel and his squad, opening a path toward success that the veteran coach is expecting to pave in the next few years.
"We want to keep moving forward until we can ultimately put a ring on their fingers," he said. "The type of studnet-athletes that I look for are ones that are really academically motivated, and want to be the best that they can be every day in the classroom as well as in the field of competition. We will take this process step-by-step to get where we want to be."
The preseason has featured some demanding work from his runners.
"It's going to be an eye-opener, but it's necessary so our students understand what it takes to be good, and on other levels what it takes to be great," he said.
Because the event is being held at Hilton Field on an active U.S. Army base, the team and spectators attending must take additional steps for safety including showing valid photo identification cards. Each vehicle entering the base must have proper paperwork including vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Vehicles entering will be checked at the main entrance gate and could encounter brief delays during the check-in process, which might include spot checks of the vehicles contents.