Tech cross country teams receive national academic honor from USTFCCCA

Tech cross country teams receive national academic honor from USTFCCCA

TTU Sports Information

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Tennessee Tech men's and women's cross country teams have garnered All-Academic honors from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for the 2018 season.

With this set of awards, the Tech women's team has now been recognized three times in program history, while the men's team has met the criteria in two different seasons.

Teams must record a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better to be eligible.

TTU's men's team GPA of 3.32 ranked in the top half of the 195 teams who earned the award, coming in 81st overall.

The Tech women maintained a 3.27 average for the year, which included them among the 232 teams recognized.

"An award like this shows the hard work and dedication these athletes put forth into being true scholar-athletes," said Tech head coach Wayne Angel. "As a coach, I am equally as proud of what they do in the classroom as I am proud of what they do on the course."

And on the course, both teams were equally as impressive as their scholarly marks.

Utilizing its "pack" running formation, the Tennessee Tech men's team took third place at the Ohio Valley Conference Cross Country Championships, its best finish since 1967, and the second-best in program history. With a 10th-place overall finish at the conference meet, Brannon Cheplak earned Second Team All-OVC.

The women were led by the incredible exploits of Purity Sanga, who won the individual championship at the league meet, and was named both the OVC Female Cross Country Athlete of the Year and the Female Athlete of the Championships. Sanga notched three victories, and never finished below seventh place overall at any meet excluding the NCAA Championships.

Both Cheplak and Sanga went on to earn All-Region honors at the NCAA South Regional.

Freshman Janet Kwambai, who ran as Tech's No. 2 female runner at almost every meet, won Co-Female Freshman Athlete of the Year from the OVC.

Southern Illinois University had the best GPA of any All-Academic men's team with a 3.67, while the Radford University women registered the top female team mark at 3.87.