Oct. 20, 2009
By Eric Trainer, Associate Director of Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- In a league with a rich history of distance running, it's difficult to stand out in a crowd. Displaying consistency not often found in newcomers to the collegiate landscape, University of Tennessee rookie Leoule Degfae (lee-OOL deg-FAY) finally got everyone's attention and was named SEC Cross Country Male Freshman Athlete of the Week on Tuesday afternoon.
Degfae, who hails from Springfield, Va., and graduated from the same high school (Thomas Edison) as UT Men's Head Coach George Watts, was the first Vol to earn weekly distinction from the league this season. He did so after running third on his team and 31st overall at the Panorama Farms Invitational on Oct. 16, as Tennessee faced off against No. 11 Syracuse, No. 15 Virginia, No. 24 Villanova and No. 26 Duke, among others.
The first-year performer covered the 8,000-meter University of Virginia course at Panorama Farms in a career best of 24 minutes, 38.61 seconds. That effort enabled him to fill the No. 3 role on the team for the third time this season and contribute to the scoring total for the fourth time in as many starts. Degfae's previous best clocking for 8K this season was a 25:13.35 readout at the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 3.
Degfae and his teammates will be idle this weekend. They will return to action on Oct. 31, though, as they compete in the SEC Championships in Oxford, Miss. Race time is 10 a.m. Central Time.