By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
For full dual-meet results, visit the Golden Eagle Invitational results page.
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech cross country endured rainy conditions to complete the Golden Eagle Invitational presented by Hometown IGA, its season-opening meet at the Ironwood Golf Course on Saturday morning.
The Tech men's team placed second out of six teams, with sophomore Gilbert Boit successfully defending his 2016 invitational title. He crossed the finish line in 18:52.8, just over 47 seconds faster than second-place finisher Kevin Wyss of Auburn.
"I can't even explain it," said head coach Wayne Angel. "That dude, he's on another level. He ran that so easy; it was kind of a workout for him."
Overall, the Golden Eagles placed four runners in the top 15. Brannon Cheplak finished sixth at 19:50.4, while Western Kentucky transfer Sammy Kipkirui followed in seventh at 19:52.4. Benard Sigei rounded out the top 10 in 10th place, timing 20:03.9.
In dual-meet standings, Tech defeated Mississippi State, Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois and Tennessee State and fell to Auburn.
"As a team, we hacked up really well," said Angel. "I think that in the future, we're going to be pretty good. When we get a little bit stronger and a little bit more tempos, we're going to be really good."
On the women's side, Micayla Rennick utilized a late kick to finish in fourth place, three spots better than her 2016 finish. She crossed the finish line in 19:24.5.
Madison Stremler followed Rennick in 18th place, timing out at 20:50.9. Anna Cooper was close behind in 22nd place, stopping the clock at 21:47.3 and improving almost 11 seconds on last season's Golden Eagle Invitational time.
D'Airrien Jackson was the final Golden Eagle to finish for the women, placing 27th with a time of 24:28.7.
Freshman Courtney McCowan began the race for Tech but was pulled out after the one-mile marker due to injury precautions. Because she was the fifth runner for the Golden Eagles, Tech could not place in the final team standings.
"Overall, the women's team did very well even though they ran with four," said Angel. "We're going to be pretty good. (Micayla's) ran a little tentatively, and then she decided, I can do this. That's her best finish yet, so I'm really excited for her.
"Overall, I was really pleased that Mississippi State, Auburn and Southern Illinois could be here. The quality of the meet keeps getting better and better, so we're really happy about it."
Photo by Thomas Corhern