Place wins individual championship, Tech women fourth, men sixth at OVC

Place named OVC Runner of the Year

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Tennessee Tech's Stephanie Place ran ahead of the entire field and earned OVC Runner of the Year honors by winning the individual championship at the 2008 Ohio Valley Conference Women's Cross Country Championships Saturday morning at Jaycee Golf Course.

Her first-place effort led the Tech women's team to fourth place in the team standings, the highest finish for the women's team since 1997. The Golden Eagle men's team finished sixth for their best showing at the conference championship since 2002.

Eastern Kentucky won the women's team title with 50 points, followed by Murray State (55), Southeast Missouri (59) and Tech (113). Eastern Illinois (117) was just behind Tech in the standings to round out the top five in the 10-team league.

In the men's race, Eastern Kentucky was also the top finisher with 17 points, while Southeast Missouri (66), Morehead State (80), Eastern Illinois (100) and Jacksonville State (157) made up the top five. Tech had 178 points for sixth place.

Place won by 21 seconds, finishing with a time of 18:16.7 to record the ninth-best 5K time in school history. It was the highest individual finish by a Tech runner, and earned her a third consecutive first-team all-OVC honor. Place was fifth in 2006 as a sophomore and third last year.

Senior Keri Light also earned all-OVC honors, grabbing her second consecutive second-team award with a 12th place finish in the race with a time of 19:24.8. Tiffany Palmer was 24th in 20:03.8 and Ashley Evans placed 31s in 20:29.5. Freshman Traci Jones placed 48th in 21:19, followed by Amanda Simmons (22:07) in 59th place and Sarah Kmet (27:35) in 73rd place.

Sophomore Sam Taylor had the top finish for the Tech men's team, crossing the line in 27:34 for 30th place. Jarrad Read was 36th in 27:56, followed closely by Ben Shassere (28:00) in 38th place, Peter Woerner (28:06) in 40th, and Ben Thompson (28:35) in 47th place. Freshmen Ethan McGroom ran the course in 29:42 for 58th place and Brian Kennedy clocked a 30:11.6 for 61st place to cap off the Tech lineup.