Place wins OVC individual title, teams improve

Jaycee Golf Course, in Cape Girardeau, Mo., was the “place” where history was made for Tennessee Tech Cross Country. Referring to Stephanie Place, who earned the title of 2008 OVC Runner of the Year for her outstanding performances throughout the season.

She won the individual title, and in doing so helped catapult the women’s squad to a fourth-place finish in the conference, their highest in 11 years.

The Ohio Valley Conference Championships were hosted by Southeast Missouri State University where the Men’s team finished sixth, while the women earned fourth place in the conference.

According to Coach Tony Cox, this is the first time a Tech runner has placed first individually.

The men also claimed their best result since 2002. Overall, the results of this meet were signs of improvement for both programs.

“They met my standards. The course was very hilly, which makes it more difficult on the runners,” Cox said. “The team ran well, and they ran well together, which is extremely important.”

The Men’s and Women’s teams travel together and run at the same meets, something that is typically found in high school athletics.

“It really is a good thing,” Cox said. “They get to travel together and share some of the same experiences.”

Regardless of whether or not the teams will advance to the national meet, the season will end shortly.

“We don’t have any seniors on the [men’s] team, so it’s good that we will be returning all of our runners. They should be stronger and run higher mileage, and so should the women’s team,” Cox said.

Both teams have a chance to earn a spot in the NCAA national championships by qualifying in the NCAA South Regional meet on Nov. 15 at Maryville.