NOTEBOOK: Track heads to Eugene for NCAA championships
MURFRESBORO, Tenn. — The final event on Middle Tennessee’s 2021-22 athletic calendar finally takes place this week, as five track and field athletes head to Eugene, Oregon for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
The event will begin on Wednesday, June 8, where Alaba Akintola will kick things off for MT by competing in the men’s 100m and 200m during the preliminaries. The Blue Raiders are to compete over the four days of the Championships, across seven events that the five Blue Raiders (Akintola, Eusila Chepkemei, Omamuyovwi Erhire, Abigail Kwarteng and esther isa) qualified for the NCAA Regionals last month.
Unsurprisingly, placing so many athletes in National Championship competitions led to stellar team rankings heading into the week.
The men also finished first @ConferenceUSA national team heading to the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and finished in the top 15 in the Southern Regional Rankings (05/16)! 🙌#BlueRaiders | #MT pic.twitter.com/GM7kkKxYDk
— MT XC/Athletics (@MT_TrackField) May 31, 2022
The final version of the USTFCCCCA TFRI is out!
— MT XC/Athletics (@MT_TrackField) May 31, 2022
And don’t forget what happened the last time the Blue Raiders competed on the national away stage…
How about a throwback to start NCAA OTF Championship week? 😎🏆
This week last year, Kigen Chemadi became national champion for the Blue Raiders after setting an outdoor program record time of 8:28.20 in the men’s 3000m steeplechase!#BlueRaiders | #NCAATF pic.twitter.com/DGSPlUbbiU
— MT XC/Athletics (@MT_TrackField) June 6, 2022
Summer moves begin in Murfreesboro
This week is also a big week for the 2022-23 sports season for the Blue Raiders, as freshmen and transfers began arriving on campus for summer practices in a plethora of sports. Most notably, at least for those of us in the athletic communications office who were there at 6 a.m., summer soccer practice is underway.
— Middle Tennessee FB (@MT_FB) June 6, 2022
“We have a lot of new people,” the head coach said. Rick Stockstill said. “What’s encouraging is that the 17-18 people who weren’t able to make spring training due to off-season surgeries, if they’re not 100 per cent, they’re really close. .
“I’m really excited, they have a good attitude. They’re hungry, they’re impatient.”
Stockstill said his program will have about 20 new faces this summer between high school seniors, JuCos and Division I transfers who didn’t make it through spring training.
“Plus the 17 or so who didn’t make it through spring due to surgeries, that’s about half of your team that didn’t make it through spring training,” Stockstill said. “It’s another part of formulating your team’s identity and leadership.”
On the hard court, men’s basketball and women’s basketball also worked hard, sometimes in unusual places with camps underway at Murphy Center.
— Nina Davis (@__NinaDavis) June 4, 2022
— Matt Insel (@minsel) June 6, 2022
(As a side note, I’m still in awe of all those incoming players who start their college career much earlier than me as a “normal” freshman. It can’t be easy to give up on this last summer at home. for high school students in particular. But the dedication shown by these student-athletes is always on my mind.)
The camps occupied the Murphy Center
If you haven’t rocked with us on our side of campus lately, it’s buzzing with activity from the plethora of camps taking place at the practice grounds, Floyd Stadium, Dean A. Hayes Stadium and, of course, the Murphy Center, where the temperature has risen by about 20 degrees, it looks like the women’s basketball team camp is filling the halls this week.
Check out some highlights and future schedules for the rest of the summer below!
— MT Basketball (@MT_MBB) June 2, 2022
Join us this summer for our 2022 MTSU Football Camps, starting June 5! Sign up today in the link below!
— MT Soccer (@MT_Soccer) May 19, 2022
Happy to start the summer with our first identification camp today in the Boro! Looking forward to working with future Blue Raiders! pic.twitter.com/OHojneBfLJ
— Zak Davis (@ZakDavis19) June 5, 2022
ICMYI, the #BlueRaiders hold their annual summer volleyball camps in July. The first camp will begin on Wednesday, July 6.
Full Version ⤵️https://t.co/rAbXgfmZPv pic.twitter.com/V0KHNq6eDu
— MT Volleyball (@MT_Volleyball) June 2, 2022
Men’s golf hires new assistant coach
Fresh off the presses of the Men’s Golf SID Thomas Donley: The head coach Mark McEntire hired former Blue Raider Payne Denman as the next assistant coach of Middle Tennessee men’s golf.
“One of the things we were looking for was that our players wanted a good player,” McEntire said of finding a new assistant. “And we found one. He has a very good connection with the Grove, a very good connection with Stones River and all of our alumni. I think he’s going to do a very good job for us.”
Denman played for MT from 2012 to 2015 after transferring from Florida, making his mark on the program’s record books. His career average of 74.04 was 2.21 strokes over par, the 12th best mark in Blue Raider history. He finished with 26 rounds or better, tied for 15th in career standings.
“What a great day for the men’s golf program,” said Whit Turnbow, Payne’s coach at MTSU and current president of the Tennessee Golf Foundation. “Payne is not only a fantastic player, but also a great human and proud alumnus. His impact on the program will be felt immediately, and I look forward to seeing his coaching career flourish under the guidance of Coach McEntire.”
Payne Denman returns to the ‘Boro as the next Blue Raider Men’s Golf Assistant Coach! #BlueRaiders
📰 https://t.co/12qwv7ciZk pic.twitter.com/hDC6zQW9fK
— MT Men’s Golf (@MT_MGolf) June 6, 2022
Dean Hayes Celebration of Life
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Dean A. Hayes Stadium, and family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of head coach Dean Hayes.
Check out some of the photos from the day below, and be sure to watch the linked stream if you missed the ceremony.
The Blue Raider Athletics family celebrated the life and legacy of Coach Dean A. Hayes today at Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium. 💙
📸 https://t.co/CxtHin8I0R pic.twitter.com/LKfvYzDX67
— MT Athletics (@MTAthletics) June 5, 2022
Did you miss Coach Dean Hayes’ celebration of life yesterday? Want to review the speeches and relive the memories?
Watch a livestream of the ceremony on YouTube ⤵️
💻 https://t.co/tndWo2yPUP pic.twitter.com/HxvaSJVrw6
— MT XC/Athletics (@MT_TrackField) June 5, 2022
Men’s and women’s tennis win regional accolades
The Ohio Valley Region of the ITA honored both Blue Raider tennis programs on Monday, with the women’s tennis team winning the community service award, while the men’s coach jimmy boredame won the region’s Coach of the Year award. chris edgea player who graduated from the men’s tennis program, won the most improved senior award.
𝒮𝑒𝓇𝓋𝒶𝓃𝓉 𝐿𝑒𝒶𝒹𝑒𝓇𝓈𝒽𝒾𝓅 💪
Middle Tennessee women’s tennis receives the @ITA_Tennis Ohio Valley Community Service Award for the 2021-22 season!
— MT Women’s Tennis (@MT_WomensTennis) June 6, 2022
— MT Men’s Tennis (@MT_MensTennis) June 6, 2022