Cross Country Ready For Road Test At Texas A&M
Both Teams Will Race Against Ranked Regional Opponents
< DENTON - The North Texas men's and women's cross country teams head to College Station to take part in the Texas A&M Invitational Saturday, Sept. 26 starting at 8:15 a.m.
"This race will be the first time the men run 8k and the women race 6k this fall," head coach Stefanie Slekis said. "We are prepared for the step up in distance because all of our workouts are geared towards performing at these distances. This will also be the largest field we've raced in so far this year."
The men's team, ranked third in the South Central region, has put together back-to-back first place finishes to start the season. Back on Sept. 12, the Mean Green defended their title at the Ken Garland Invitational at home after senior Troy Taylor took home first with a new personal best time of 19:27.16. Junior James Coleman came in third and senior Bryce McAndrew was fifth giving North Texas three runners in the top-5. In total, seven runners from the Mean Green ended up with top-15 finishes.
Both teams will get a chance to see how the regional course is run as Texas A&M will be hosting the NCAA South Central regionals Nov. 13. The Mean Green will have an opportunity to see where they stand as Texas (No. 2 in the region) and Lamar (No. 4 in the region) will be at the Texas A&M invitational this weekend.
"The team is excited about racing on the regional course," Slekis said. "The women are looking forward to knowing exactly what the course will be for November while the men should leave Saturday with a strong understanding of how to race well on that course. I've been telling the team what an exciting opportunity this weekend is. Not only do we get to feel out the regional course but we also get to lineup against most of the ranked teams in our region which is a great competitive opportunity as well. We'll really get to see where we are at compared to the rest of our region and have a better understanding of what else we need to work on as we continue to get better the next month."
The women's team continues to improve each week after a second straight third place finish at the Ken Garland invitational Sept. 12. Junior Shauna Pali led the team with a third place finish followed closely by senior Magdalena Escobar in sixth. Six North Texas runners finished top-25 or better, including freshman Catalina Uriarte in 24th place.
"I'm hoping to see the success we've had at the early meets over the shorter distances translate into success over the longer distances in a larger more competitive field. I really want to see us working together in the strong packs that we have even though the field is so much larger and still closing hard the last 2k even though it is a more competitive field."