“It’s hard to take in as it’s the first time in TSU history,” said assistant coach Xavier Martinez. “As a former athlete and TSU alum you feel really proud of these guys to be able to accomplish such a thing.”
A total of 23 teams and selected individuals will be in attendance at Agri Park, which is located north of the main University of Arkansas campus. The Tigers will run one of their longest distances of the year as the regional is a 10K course (6.2 miles). Despite the distance, TSU is familiar with the course as they ran an 8K race on the same course Oct. 5 at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival.
While participating in Friday’s meet is historic, another feat that stands out is TSU’s roster. The Tigers are the only team in attendance who’ll feature a roster full of freshmen.
“We knew from the start we had a great group of freshmen so we put in the work,” said Martinez. “We knew there was potential but it all started with hard work and a plan. They bought into the program and trusted the process.”
The meet, which kicks off at 12 p.m., will be available to watch on FloTrack (subscription) as live results will also be available online. The top two teams at each regional will advance to the national meet with an additional 13 bids determined through NCAA at-large criteria. Thirty-eight individuals will also participate in the national meet as the NCAA committee will select the first four individual finishers not on a qualifying team who finish within the top 25 of their respective region.