Chattanooga, TN – Led by freshman Martin Rejman’s school-record time, an ever-improving Austin Peay State University men’s cross-country team placed sixth at Saturday’s Front Runner Invitational, hosted by Chattanooga at the Moccasion Bend Race Course.
The Govs team score of 142 placed them ahead of Darton State (160) and Tennessee State (237) in the eight-team field. Austin Peay was just behind another Ohio Valley Conference foe in UT Martin, which finished fifth with 112 points.
Host Chattanooga won the event with a 38-point aggregate score.
Rejman’s 15:35.54 mark set an Austin Peay men’s five-kilometer record. He placed 15th overall, a bit off from his top-10 finish in the September 6th race, but his time was nearly 40 seconds better than his previous attempt at Moccasin Bend.
Freshman Daniel Hamm was the only other Gov in the top-30. The Brentwood native placed 24th with a 16:05.36 mark, bettering his September 6th outing by 35 seconds.
Freshman Kyle Harmon (37th, 16:26.80) and sophomore transfer Cory Nwaiji (40th, 16:35.42) earned the Govs other top-40 finishes. Harmon was 40 seconds ahead of his September 6th mark, while Nwaiji acquitted himself nicely in his first attempt at Moccasin Bend this season.
Freshman Hunter Guthrie, who jumped out to an early lead in Saturday’s race, ran out of steam as the race went on, eventually finishing 44th with a 16:54.05 mark.
“I like the shorter meets right before conference,” said head coach Doug Molnar. “It gives them a little more confidence and makes them a little quicker out of the gate. Hunter might’ve gotten out a little too fast, but he’s a little under the weather, which didn’t help. A meet like this is nice in that it lets your experiment a little bit.”
A trio of freshmen – Nathan Sparks (46th, 17:00.70), Alex Haycraft (51st, 17:26.09) and Thomas Owen (60th, 18:12.23) joined senior Tyler Kepley (55th, 17:49.03) to round out the Austin Peay contingent.
Austin Peay will take a couple of weeks to rest up and train before the November 2nd OVC Championships at Morehead State on the Eagle Trace Golf Course.