By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Having not raced since Sept. 2, Tech men's cross country showed no signs of slowing down at the Mountain Dew Invitational Saturday morning. The Golden Eagles placed second out of 24 teams in their first-ever appearance at the meet, and sophomore Gilbert Boit collected his second individual win in as many meets this season.
Tech totaled 83 points to finish behind only North Florida (52 points) in the 8k race at the University of Florida's Mark Bostick Golf Course.
"We fell short today for the win, but I'm not disappointed," said head coach Wayne Angel. "We battled hard and did our best. It's early in the season yet. We will be ready when it counts."
Boit's time of 24:30.9 put him at sixth all-time in Tech's record books for the 8000 meters. He also owns the top four fastest 8k times, all set last year in his debut season as a Golden Eagle.
"Boit winning was great – it was huge for us. It was huge for him. He beat some quality runners today," said Angel.
Tech also placed Brannon Cheplak and Sammy Kipkirui in the top 10. Tech and North Florida each had three individual runners finish in the top-10 spots. Cheplak finished fifth with a career-best 8k time of 25:06.0, while Kipkirui followed at 6th in 25:10.4. Cheplak and Kipkirui's times now stand as 10th- and 12th-fastest respectively in Tech history.
Benard Sigei finished 38th at 26:38.0, and Ababu Mohamed, in his Tech debut, placed 41st in 26:44.3. Hannes Vohn placed within the top 50 at 49th with a time of 26:54.7. Joshua Daugherty closed out the Tech contingent at 141st, clocking 29:30.2.
"All we asked our guys to do is to compete Tech tough, and we definitely were out there today," said Angel. "We just need to work on closing the gap between our third, fourth and fifth runners. We will head back to Cookeville and prepare for the Sam Bell Invitational in Bloomington next week. We will have our hands full with nationally ranked teams from Indiana and Columbia, as well as some teams from Canada."
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
- North Florida (52 points) – No. 9 in the South Region
- TENNESSEE TECH (83 points) – No. 11 in the South Region
- Florida (109 points) – No. 10 in the South Region
- Embry-Riddle (143 points)
- Florida A&M (155 points)
- Miami (FL) [222 points] – No. 14 in the South Region
- Stetson (225 points)
- Florida Gulf Coast (229 points)
- USF (239 points)
- Saint Leo (256 points)
- Tampa (289 points)
- Flagler (315 points)
- Florida Tech (323 points)
- Oglethorpe (365 points)
- Bethune-Cookman (383 points)
- Florida Atlantic (389 points)
- FIU (508 points)
- Palm Beach Atlantic (547 points)
- Jacksonville (548 points)
- Florida College (549 points)
- Ave Maria (577 points)
- St. Thomas (FL) [642 points]
- Tallahassee CC (675 points)
- Edward Waters (678 points)
The men's team will head off on its own to Bloomington, Indiana, for the Sam Bell Invitational. The race, Tech's second 8k this season, will kick off Saturday, Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. CT.
Photo by Thomas Corhern