By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
MADISON, Wis. – In her second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships, Purity Sanga handled herself very well and improved on her results from 2017, placing almost precisely in the middle of the 252-member women's field.
Sanga's 128th-place finish was nearly 90 spots better than her first championship go-around in Louisville, Ky. (217th), and her time of 21-minutes, 19.3-seconds was almost 30 seconds faster (21:48.0).
"I'm so proud of Purity," said coach Wayne Angel. "Conditions were horrible today, and it was bitterly cold, which affected her performance. Still, she represented the state of Tennessee and Tennessee Tech with class. She was the best female performer from Tennessee today."
The Kapsabet, Kenya native did take the top result of the two in-state females in the competition, as she bested Tennessee's Megan Murray, who was 139th overall in 21:23.4.
The appearance at the NCAA Championships capped an incredible sophomore campaign for Sanga, who posted the program's top-four five-kilometer times during the regular season, captured three individual victories – including an Ohio Valley Conference championship – and never placed outside the top three overall in six meets prior to the NCAA South Region Championships.
She also became the first runner in the history of the OVC to sweep the Female Runner of the Week awards in all five weeks she competed.
Perhaps the most noteworthy element of Sanga's success, however, is the fact she remains an underclassman, and has two more seasons of eligibility to build on her profile as Tech's best female runner of all time.
Angel has seen Sanga progress tremendously in her two seasons in Cookeville, and based on her improvements from Year 1 to Year 2, the coach is chomping at the bit to see what his young superstar has in store for her junior year.
"I am extremely excited about the future and what it holds for her and this program," Angel said. "Purity's future is very bright."
Dani Jones of Colorado won the individual national championship in the women's race with a time of 19:42.8.
Colorado also claimed the women's team championship with a total of 65 points.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information