Nov. 22, 2013
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Junior Peter Okwera will compete for the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championship on Saturday afternoon.
For the second consecutive season, Okwera will represent Tennessee in the NCAA Championship race. This year's event will take place at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind., beginning with the men's 10K race at noon ET.
Live coverage of the event will be available on NCAASports.com.
In last year's race, Okwera finished with a time of 29:53.9 for 30th overall. That time, which remains his personal best in the 10K, earned him All-American honors from the USTFCCCA.
Building upon the successes of last season, Okwera opened this season with his first career collegiate win in the Belmont Opener. This would be one of two victories during the season as he went on to win the Greater Louisville Classic. His season to this point has consisted of five top-10 finishes in six races.
In postseason competition, his time of 24:00.42 was a new personal best for the 8K, earning a seventh place finish and All-SEC Cross Country team recognition. Advancing to the NCAA South Region Championships, Okwera was fifth to complete the 10K course in 29:55.43. He was named to the All-Region team in addition to qualifying for the championship race for a second consecutive year.
Tennessee's Chelsea Blaase was just under two seconds away from advancing to the NCAA Championship on the women's side. She placed 10th in the South Region with a time of 20:19.83, earning All-Region honors as well.
Okwera is one of three male and eight total athletes representing the SEC in the field of 38 individuals for each respective race. Other individual SEC representatives include: Ty McCormack (Auburn), Isaac Spencer (Texas A&M), Kaitlyn Fischer (Missouri), Cally Macumber (Kentucky), Cory McGee (Florida), Hillary Montgomery (Texas A&M) and Agata Strausa (Florida). Runners from 31 teams will take part in this year's race, including five SEC member institutions.
The defending NCAA Cross Country team champions are Oklahoma State (men) and Oregon (women).
Texas Tech's Kennedy Kithuka (28:31.3) is the defending NCAA men's cross country individual champion. Iowa State senior Betsy Saina won the women's individual crown a year ago (19:27.9), but has completed her eligibility. The top returning woman from last season's championship is Dartmouth's Abbey D'Agostino, who finished second a year ago (19:28.6).