Clarksville, TN – After a four-meet regular season, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) cross country teams conclude the 2021 season with their third trip to Percy Warner Park this season for the Ohio Valley Conference Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships, Saturday, at Vaughn’s Creek Cross Country Course.
This season’s cross country championships are being held in Nashville for the first time since 2016 and it is the first time that Tennessee State has hosted the event since 2009.
Last season, Eastern Kentucky women’s team won their ninth-straight title, while Eastern Illinois men’s team spoiled a streak of 14-straight championships for the Colonels.
Senior Sara Martin has paced the women’s cross country team in all four meets this season, including a career-high seventh-place finish at the Brescia Invitational, October 8th, that earned the Clarksville native her first OVC Female Cross Country Runner of the Week award.
Mikaela Smith has been the second Gov to cross the finish line in three meets this season and posted a personal-best 19:49.2 and a ninth-place finish at Brescia’s event.
The men have been led by newcomer Connor Duncan in each meet this season. Duncan was named the OVC Male Cross Country Runner of the Week, October 12th, after his fifth-place finish in Owensboro, Kentucky led the Govs to their best performance since 2018.
Graduate student Joseph Redman and junior Ryan Martin have both finished top-three on the team in each meet this season, with Martin posting a season-best 19th-place finish at Brescia and Redman recording his season-best finish with a 29:06.2 eight-kilometer time at the Commodore Classic, Sept. 17.
In last season’s championship, Redman led the men with a 64th-place finish, followed by Stone Norris’ who came in one spot after him. Martin’s 31st-place overall finish last season at Weakley Park was the best finish by a Gov at the championship since Jessica Gray in 2016.
The women’s five-kilometer race is scheduled to begin at 9:00am and is followed by the men’s eight-kilometer scheduled to begin at 10:00am.
Austin Peay State University cross country coach Sarah-Emily Woodward
On the men… “I am very excited for the championship! We have had the opportunity to race on this course multiple times throughout the season and are prepared for it. The course is predicted to be muddy but it’s nothing we can’t handle. We have looked good at practice over the past two weeks which is a great sign for the championship. I look forward to seeing our seniors race at the championship as well. Overall we are ready for a great day!”
On the women… “We are in a great position as a team to run well. They have worked very hard this season to run with confidence. We have multiple seniors that have shown great leadership throughout the season on and off the course. They have all raced at the course and are prepared to accomplish their individual and team goals. I look forward to seeing them challenge themselves Saturday!”
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