PREVIEW: UT Tyler XC set to run in Memphis, Tennessee

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
by Wes Bloomquist |

TYLER – Coming off strong individual performances and team wins last weekend, UT Tyler cross country will compete away from home for the first time this season when it runs at the Rhodes College Invitational on Saturday at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tennessee.

“This week shows that indeed coaching cross country is like a fine wine,” UT Tyler coach Bob Hepler said. “We are sending only part of the teams to Rhodes because while some of our grapes need more cultivation to be ready for the championship races, others need to be rested to obtain maximum development. Accordingly, we will send six ladies and 13 men to compete against DI, D2 and D3 schools at Rhodes College.”

The Patriots will be making their first trip back to Memphis since the 2013 season where the men’s team finished fifth after they claimed second in 2011 and 2010. It will be the fourth time the UT Tyler cross country team has competed in the event and is also the third event of this season. The Patriots have been led this season by Holly Nohavitza on the women’s side and by Will McIlroy and Nathan Adams on the men’s side. Nohavitza opened her season by finishing second at the King Campbell Spectacular in a two-mile time of 12:21 and then second last weekend at the Braveheart Invitational by finishing the 5K in 20:59. McIlroy has led the Patriot men both weeks after taking third at the Spectacular with a time of 10:05 on the two-mile course and then finishing fourth last Friday at the Braveheart by running a 16:51 in the first 5K of the season. Adams was right with McIlroy, running a 16:52 in the Braveheart race for fifth after running a 10:06 in the Spectacular.

UT Tyler will send six women to compete with Nohavitza, Bethany Cox, Lauren Halliday, Rachel Willis, Stephanie Pierce and Kelli Kissinger representing the Patriots. The men’s team will be represented by Adams, McIlroy, Matt Donahue, Andrew Hernandez, Conor Linekin, Justin Tokuz, Gerardo Viera, Marcus Allen, Parker Cota, Jackson Waschek, Quinton Bryson and Shafen Borah.

“Both teams have started the season well,” Hepler said “The challenge for the women’s team is to have our No. 2-7 runners close the time gap between them and front runner Holly Nohavitza. The men need to see our upper classmen close the gap with a group of very tough freshmen lead by Will McIlroy and Nathan Adams. Both teams continue to work hard as they prepare to defend their ASC Championships in Austin on October 29th and hopefully advance to the NCAA Regional Meet in Berry, Georgia two weeks later. All of our efforts are geared to prepare for those two races.”

UT Tyler will have two weeks off from competition after Memphis and will return for the ETBU Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Marshall.