UTC Track and Field to prepare Samford Invitational

By Hannah Orem, Chattanooga, Tenn. — The Chattanooga men’s track team headed to the Tennessee State Invitational in Nashville on Saturday Feb.1.

Head coach Bill Gautier did not take the women’s team with them, and he is focusing on getting his runners healthy.

Gautier said that track is an “all or nothing” sport, where it is common to sit out runners to make sure they can compete when it is important.

“We aren’t going to do anything detrimental to our athletes,” Gautier said.

Gautier is hoping runner Lucas Cotter, a graduate student from Collierville, Tenn., will have a chance to compete after becoming healthy.

“He needs to get a race under his belt to qualify for the conference,” Gautier said.

Fellow teammate and graduate student Nathan Wanuch, Missisauga, Ontario, and sophomore Geoff Nelson, Brentwood, Tenn., were able to compete after recovering from an illness and injury.

Because of the illness to more experienced runners, the underclassmen got the chance to compete and qualify. Imeobong Isang, a sophomore from Atlanta, Ga., is expected to do well in hurdles.

Gautier looked forward to runners sophomore Zach Darby, Knoxville, and junior Patrick O’Brien, Chattanooga, doing well and showing their skill.

UTC’s newest addition for the Tennessee Invitational was freshman football player James Stovall, Cleveland, Tenn., who was a Bradley County state champion.

“We are not really gearing up for this meet,” Gautier said. “The meet we are gearing up for is Feb. 7, the Samford Invitational at Birmingham.”

Gautier said he looks forward to the upcoming Samford Invitational because it is the pathway to qualify for the Southern Conference Championships.

“It’s a beautiful track and it’s going to have a lot more competition,” Gautier said.

Both men and women’s track teams will compete in Birmingham at the Samford Invitational Feb. 7.