Cox signs nine newcomers for Tech's cross country, track teams

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee Tech cross country and track & field coach Tony Cox has announced the addition of nine student-athletes to his team rosters, inking three runners to the men's squad and six on the women's. The three new men's team members are Daniel Francis of Morganton, N.C., Brian Kennedy from Ashland City, Tenn., and Ethan McGroom from Oak Ridge.

Joining the women's lineup will be Mary Beth Dyer from Dayton, Tenn., Miranda Hinds from Jamestown, Tenn., Traci Jones from Aiken, S.C., Jenna Philpott from Manchester, Tenn., Amber Vandyken from Dunlap, Tenn., and Emily Weinzetl from San Antonio.

"I think we had a good recruiting year, and the new people coming in will certainly be able to step in and help our teams immediately," Cox said. "We recruited from several different areas this year, including Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina. I think they saw the quality of the school and that was one of the key reasons they decided to come here."

Daniel Francis is the son of Noel and Beth Francis of Morganton, N.C., and a June graduate of Freedom High School where he received a total of 10 letters in three sports. In addition to his four letters in cross country, he also claimed three in track & field and three in swimming. Francis plans to major in electrical engineering.

Brian Kennedy is the son of John and Sharon Kennedy of Ashland City, and plans to major in business and world cultures. He is a May graduate of Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville. Kennedy also lettered in both cross country and swimming during his prep career.

Ethan McGroom comes to the Golden Eagles after a May graduation from Oak Ridge High School, and plans to major in web design. The son of San and Sam McGroom, he lettered four times in cross country, three in track and once in soccer. He was part of four regional championships and three TSSAA state titles.

The six women's signees include three sprinters and three middle distance runners.

Mary Beth Dyer is also a middle distance runner, earning letters in both track and cross country at Rhea County High School. The daughter of Michael and Martha Dyer, she plans to study early childhood education. She was a record-setter and qualifier for the TSSAA state meet in the relays.

Miranda Hinds comes to Tech from Jamestown, Tenn., as a graduate student after earnig her degree in business from Middle Tennessee State. A distance runner, she competed in several different events during her prep career at York Institute but did not compete intercollegiately while at MTSU. She is the daughter of Connie and Anthony Roberts and will pursue her MBA.

Traci Jones is a middle distance runner and the daughter of Mike and Lisa Dixon. A June graduate of South Aiken (S.C.) High School, she lettered in cross country, track and soccer and earned all-state honors while helping to win two region titles in cross country and two more in track. She plans to major in biology.

Jenna Philpot is the daughter of Darin and Shelba Philpott of Manchester, Tenn., and a May graduate of Coffee County High School. She plans to study nursing. In addition to four letters in basketball and two in volleyball, she earned four letters in track and field while competing in the long jump, triple jump, pentathlon, 400m and relays.

Amber Vandyken is a freshman from Dunlap, Tenn., and a recent graduate of Sequatchie County High School where she worked with assistant coach Melissa Williams, a former Golden Eagle runner. The daughter of Kimberly and Michael Vandyken, she plans to study elementary education while competing in the sprints, jumps and relays.

Emily Weinzetl is the daughter of Scott and Kristi Weinzetl of San Antonio, and was a sprinter at Ronald Reagan High School. She also lettered two years in basketball. She plans to study English-journalism while competing in the 100m, 200m, 400m, long jump and triple jump.