Sanga runs into record books

TTU sophomore cross country runner Purity Sanga.  Photo by Vanessa Curry

Three weeks ago at the Golden Eagle Invitational, cross-country coach Wayne Angel predicted sophomore Purity Sanga would break the school record for the women’s 5k.

One week later, at the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Sanga did just that with a time of 17:20.7 – nine seconds faster than the previous record set in 2016 by Micayla Rennick.

“It was awesome to see that,” Angel said in a prepared statement about Sanga. “She ran the perfect race and beat some very good people.”

Angel said he expects Sanga to continue setting records.

“She’s just a dedicated, committed, tough competitor,” Angel said. “She moved from sixth at this race last year to second, and cut 18 seconds off her time so I’m extremely proud of her and very hopeful for what is yet to come.”

So far this season, Sanga, who is from Kapsabet, Kenya, has been named OVC female runner of the week for two consecutive weeks.

“Through my hard work and my teammates pushing me, I learned that I can really run,” Sanga said. “When I came here, at my first meet, I didn’t know I can run, but my teammates were all very nice and pushed me to be where I am.”

Sanga finished in the top five in the past eight competitions. She now holds four of the top 10 records in tech women’s cross-country history.

“Four? I did not know,” Sanga said.

In Nashville, the team placed 1 out of 19 teams. Sanga finished second, 11 seconds behind Dorcas Wasike from the University of Louisville.

Angel said Sanga’s competition for the conference championships are Eastern Kentucky’s Lilian Kiborus and Gladys Cheruiyot. Kiborus finished third, and Cheruiyot finished seventh in Nashville.

“She was right up there with two athletes from our conference,” Angel said. “I think it was her way of showing them that she is going to be a contender and challenge them for that top spot.”

Sanga said she hopes to run professionally after her career at tech is over. In the meantime, she said she has set two goals for herself this season.

“I want to be top 10 at nationals. I want to win the OVC,” Sanga said.

“The entire Tennessee Tech athletics family is proud of Purity for setting the school record,” athletic director Mark Wilson said. “She is an excellent example of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication.”