By TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Very few individuals have made a bigger mark on a single program during their Tennessee Tech careers than Stephanie Place Buchanan. A four-year member of the Golden Eagle women's cross country and track & field teams from 2005-2010, she rewrote the record books as a distance runner.
At the conclusion of her cross country career in 2008, Place owned the top 11 times in program history for the 5K, including a school-record time of 17:34 set as a senior. She also finished with 14 of the top 30 overall 5K finishes. Her top time still ranks seventh today and each of her top 11 finishes represented the program's best for nearly eight years.
She is one of four inductees into the 46th class of the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame. After forgoing last year's induction ceremony due to the ongoing factors surrounding COVID-19, the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame returns in 2021 and will hold its 46th and 47th inductions during Homecoming weekend, Nov. 12-13. In addition to the Class of 2021 being recognized, the Class of 2020 will also be honored and officially inducted, with Place Buchanan, A.J. Kirby-Jones (baseball, 2008-10), Thomas Squires (football, 1985-87), and Borja Zarco (men's tennis, 2005-08) all set to join this year's class, consisting of Frank Harrell (men's basketball head coach/administration, 1980-present), Morris Irby (baseball, 1968-71), Leah Meffert Turner (volleyball, 2007-10), Chad Oberacker (baseball, 2008-11), and Ashley Potts Williams (softball, 2004-07), as the newest members of the TTU Sports Hall of Fame.
Like a fine wine that gets better with age, Place improved each year at the OVC Championships, exploding for a fifth-place finish as a sophomore in 2006. She followed it up with a third-place showing in 2007 and reached the peak as a senior. In 2008, Place became the first Golden Eagle to win the OVC Championships, claiming OVC Female Runner of the Year and OVC Female Athlete of the Championship honors.
Place owned the top-three finishes in program history at the OVC Championships when she called it a career and still owns three of the top four. She earned a place on the All-OVC First Team in 2006, 2007 and 2008. She was named OVC Runner of the Week nine times during her career, including five times as a senior.
During her sophomore and junior campaigns, she led Tech in every single meet and earned Team MVP honors as a sophomore, junior and senior. Place was also a recipient of the team's Impact Award as a freshman. Following her championship performance in 2008, she was named Tech's Female Athlete of the Year.
Place was known for much more than just her cross country prowess, enjoying a highly successful career for the Tech track & field team as well. She won the team's Impact Award in 2006 and finished her career as the team MVP in 2010.
In 2009, she became the OVC individual medalist in the 3,000-meter run with a program-record time of 10:04.39. She set the 5,000-meter run record for Tech one year prior with a time of 17:36.63. Place was also a member of Tech's record-breaking Distance Medley Relay team, which set the mark of 12:21.09 at the 2009 OVC Championships to claim medalist honors.
In 2007, Place broke the outdoor school marks for the 3,000-meter run (10:08.01) and the 10,000-meter run (36:29.64). She broke the program's 5,000-meter mark in 2008 with a time of 17:05.83. After missing one outdoor campaign to injury, she made her final one count in 2010, earning individual medalist honors in the 10,000-meter run at the OVC Championships with a time of 37:04.41.
Place was highly successful in the classroom as well, earning Athletic Director's Honor Roll each of her 10 semesters. She was a five-time member of the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll and received the OVC Medal of Honor once. In 2009, she earned a place on the CoSIDA Academic All-District IV Second Team.
A native of Bristol, Tenn., Place earned her nursing degree from Tech in 2009 and served as a registered nurse at Cookeville Regional Medical Center for nearly two years. She moved on to work for Wellmont Health System in Bristol for a year and half.
She became a travel nurse in 2012, working in multiple spots in Indiana and California until returning to Cookeville Regional Medical Center as a registered nurse in 2014. She remained in Cookeville until 2016 when she moved back to Bristol to work with the Wellmont Health System again. She currently serves as a registered nurse in the cardiovascular intensive care unit.
The Hall of Fame Dinner will be held on Friday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m. CT in the Multipurpose Room of the University Center. Tickets are available through the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office by calling 931-372-3940 or by visiting TTUSports.com. Both groups will also be recognized at the Homecoming football game on Saturday afternoon against UT Martin, which features a 1:30 p.m. CT kickoff.