Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University men and women's cross country teams released their 2010 season schedule while both squads were picked to finish 10th in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason rankings.
The predicted order of finish was voted on by the OVC cross country head coaches with the Flying Tigers receiving 12 points and the Tigerbelles tallying 10.
In the rankings on the men's side, Eastern Kentucky (81 points, 9 first-place votes) was followed by a tie between Southeast Missouri State and Eastern Illinois (68) with Southeast receiving the other first place vote. The polling was rounded out by Jacksonville State (55), Morehead State (50), Tennessee Tech (34), UT Martin (33), Austin Peay State (28), and Murray State (21).
For the women, Eastern Kentucky (81 points, 9 first-place votes) was followed by Eastern Illinois (70, 1 first-place vote), Murray State (63), Southeast Missouri (59), Jacksonville State (47), Morehead State (39), Tennessee Tech (29), Austin Peay State (28), and UT Martin (24).
Both Eastern Kentucky teams captured the 2009 title in Nashville last season with TSU serving as the meet host.
The Flying Tigers will open up their season at Vanderbilt's Commodore Classic (9/18) racing on Vaughn's Gap inside Percy Warner Park in Nashville. The following week, they will travel in lieu of the Atlanta (Ga.) Football Classic to once again run in the Morehouse College Invitational (9/25) with the venue changing to Perkerson Park.
The next week, the team will test the 2010 OVC Championship course when the travel to Cookeville, Tenn. at the Southern Hill Golf Course to race in the Tennessee Tech Invitational (10/1). After a week off, the team will close out the regular season at UT Chattanooga's Front Runner Classic (10/16) on the Moccasin Bend Course.
The Flying Tigers return their top 8K performers in junior, Christopher Hobbs, and, senior, Phillip Myton. Hobbs posted a career mark of 30:43.30 (Tennessee Tech Invitational) and was the team's top runner in his first season with the program last year. Myton recorded a career time early last year at the Commodore Classic with a time of 32:33.85. As the season begins, the team will be defined by newcomers and members of the track and field team.
The Tigerbelles lose their top four runners from last season but return two seasoned veterans in sophomores Kenisha Ladler and Gabrielle Todd. Both posted their fastest times during the first year of competition at the Tennessee Tech Invitational. In the 5K, Ladler ran 25:03.14 and Todd posted a time of 26:38.61.
The team will look to build the program around incoming runners with previous cross country experience. Brittney Washington, a JUCO transfer for Central Arizona, helped guide her team to a 2009 NJCAA National Championship in cross country. She posted a time of 21:26 (5K) to close out her career. Freshman Breanna Adams joins the squad with a career best, 20:28 in the 5K, in high school competition.
The Tigerbelles will follow their schedule from last year with the exception of one meet. The team will jump start the season at UT Chattanooga's PowerAde Invitational (9/10) before competing at Vanderbilt's Commodore Classic (9/18).
They will return to the Morehouse College Invitational (9/25) after a year absence before lacing up at OVC opponent, Tennessee Tech Invitational (10/1).
After the open week, the team will return to Chattanooga to run in the Front Runner Invitational (10/16) before returning to Cookeville, Tenn. to finish the year at the OVC Cross Country Championship.