By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It was a strong day at the Ohio Valley Conference Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships for the Tennessee Tech programs Saturday morning, as the Golden Eagles both teams saw multiple members collect honors on the day.
The Tech women's team placed on the podium for the second straight year, the first time the purple and gold earned top-three finishes in back-to-back seasons in program history. The Golden Eagles earned 71 points to place third among the 10 OVC teams. Eastern Illinois captured the OVC title with 41 points, besting newcomer Southern Indiana by a single point.
Pacing the effort for the women was sophomore Ruby Wyles, clocking in with a career-best time of 22:22.1 in the 6K. She finished sixth among the 84 competitors, earning All-OVC First Team honors for the first time. Wyles was a member of the Second Team in 2021.
Junior Helen Pacurariu-Nagy delivered a nice performance as well, collecting her own postseason hardware with a place on the All-OVC Second Team. A member of the First Team in 2021, she finished 11th on the day with a time of 22:42.4.
Just missing out on her second straight all-league honor was Rahab Sawe, finishing 15th and one spot off the cut-off. Regardless, the junior still produced a strong showing by clocking in at 22:56.4.
Sophomores Chloe Wade and Maddie Long rounded out the scoring effort for the Golden Eagles, both posting personal-best showings for the 6K. Wade crossed just ahead of her teammate with a time of 23:07.5, placing 19th overall. Long was next in line, finishing 20th with a time of 23:13.8.
The Golden Eagle men's squad placed fourth among the 10 league teams, marking the first time the team placed third and fourth or better in back-to-back years since 1966 and 1967. The purple and gold accounted for 101 points. Eastern Illinois picked up the OVC crown with 65 points, edging UT Martin by two points. Southern Indiana was third with 82 points.
Sophomore Miceal McCaul led the Golden Eagles on the day, placing fifth overall with a time of 25:18.9, the best finish by a Tech runner since Gilbert Boit won the OVC Championship in 2016. Aside from Boit's title, it was the best showing by a Golden Eagle since 1970, a fifth-place finish by Jim Pearson. He earned All-OVC First Team accolades for the performance, his second year in a row with honors after collecting a Second Team nod in 2021.
Also picking up All-OVC recognition for the second straight year was Dominic Smith, placing 13th overall for another Second Team honor. The junior clocked in at 25:47.6, becoming the first Golden Eagle in program history to earn two All-OVC Second Team accolades.
Crossing the finish line in back-to-back fashion were sophomores Samuel Goodchild and Chase Faudi, ranking 26th and 27th overall among the 90 competitors. Goodchild delivered a time of 26:18.8 while Faudi locked in a performance of 26:19.5.
Also producing a strong showing as part of the scoring crew was Clayton Kirkus, following close behind his fellow sophomores in 30th. Kirkus rounded out the day with a time of 26:29.1.
"I'm so proud of our entire department," Tech head coach Peter Dalton expressed. "From the teams' efforts out there on the course today and all season, to our staff during the hosting process, to our supporters and alumni who came out to support us; I just want to say thank you Golden Eagle nation."
The Golden Eagles will compete next at the NCAA South Regional Championships on Friday, Nov. 11 in Huntsville, Ala.
Photos by Thomas Corhern and Kyle Schwartz