TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Paced by former junior college All-American Purity Murray's personal-best time, the Tennessee Tech women's cross country team placed 16th in an outstanding field of 26 teams at the Alabama Crimson Classic Friday evening at the Harry Pritchett Park.
The Golden Eagle men's team, which started the race with only five runners, did not record a team score as one Golden Eagle runner was unable to finish the event due to cramps.
"I was very pleased with the ladies' performance today, they really stepped it up as a team," said Golden Eagle head coach Wayne Angel. "Purity Murray is finally showing the form that made her an eight-time Juco All-American. She looked awesome today."
Murray recorded the 11th fastest 5K time in school history when she completed the course in 18:27.95 to put her in 64th place overall among the 170 Division I runners. She led Tech for the first time this season.
Junior Sarah Brandt was next to cross the line for the Golden Eagles, placing 74th in 18:45, while freshman Jenna Storms finished 82nd in the time of 18:51.45.
Madison Stremler also posted a personal-best time in the race, finishing in 19:26.94, while Sonel Bezuidenhuit was just behind in 19:34.25. Angela Jepchirchir was Tech's sixth entry, finishing in 20:28.29 and missing her PR by a mere two seconds.
"We also had a very good performance by Madison Stremler today. All-in-all I was very pleased with our ladies. We are moving in the right direction."
Oklahoma State won the women's title in the Classic, followed by Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi and Texas A&M.
The Golden Eagle men's team missed an opportunity to notch their place in the team standings among the 23 other Division I schools on hand when Amos Kipchirchir was halted by cramps. With only four runners finishing the race, Tech didn't have a team score.
"Our guys kind of struggled today," Angel said. "It was a very difficult course, as well as dry and dusty. Amos did not finish due to cramps."
Junior Geoffrey Sambu led the way for the Tech men's squad, placing 49th overall with a time of 25:47.01, which ranks as the 12th fastest 8K time in school history. Sambu owns six of the 11 times ahead of that.
Daniel Williamson, still returning to form after an injury, was next in the time of 26:42.08. The other two Golden Eagles in the race were Noah Rotich and Collin Gwaltney. Rotich had a time of 28:20.34, while Gwaltney ran the circuit in 29:58.48.
As the Cowboy women did, Oklahoma State also claimed the crown in the men's race. Texas A&M was second, followed by Lipscomb, Auburn, and North Florida in the top five.
"We just have to keep working at it," he said. "I'm confident that we will do a better job at the conference meet."
The OVC Championships are in two weeks, when league schools will gather in Murray, Ky., on Halloween Day, Oct. 31. The meet will take place at Murray State University's Miller Memorial Golf Course.