TTU Invitational is Friday at Southern Hills Golf Course

TTU Invitational is Friday at Southern Hills Golf Course

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- New champions will be crowned Friday in both the men's and women's races during the TTU Invitational at Southern Hills Golf Course. Six men's team will tour the 8K course at 3 p.m., followed seven women's teams in a 5K run at 4 p.m.

Defending champions Evansville and Milligan are not running in the event this year, but coach Tony Cox thinks the field is the strongest in the 10-year history of the TTU Invitational.

"We've picked up a couple of new teams this year, and I think the field will be more competitive than ever," Cox said.

Competing in the men's race will be Ohio Valley Conference rivals Murray State, Tennessee State and Jacksonville State, along with the Golden Eagles. Also in the field will be UT Chattanooga and North Alabama. The field in the women's race will feature the same six schools, plus Alabama A&M.

The Tech men wil l be paced by junior Sam Taylor, who finished sixth overall a year ago in leading the Golden Eagles to a third place finish. Right behind him in that event was Joseph DeLorenzo in seventh place, and he returns this fall as one of five seniors on the TTU roster.

Among the newcomers expected to challenge for the Tech men's team is freshman Chris Bishop (left) from Morristown, who has been second on the team behind Taylor in the first two meets of the season.

The Tech women finished second behind Milligan in last year's TTU Invitational with teammates Stephanie Place and Keri Light taking the top two individual spots. Both of those runners are gone this season, and Tiffany Palmer has moved into the team's top role, leading Tech in both events this year. The senior from Cleveland placed third a year ago on the Southern Hills course, so she will be among the contenders in 2009.

Also figuring to run among Tech's leaders are sophomore Traci Jones from Aiken, S.C., and senior Amanda Simmons (left) from Woodstock, Ga. They have been Tech's second and third finishers twice already this year.