DENTON, Texas (10-29-08) The North Texas cross country teams travel to Bowling Green this Saturday with hopes of landing a conference championship. The Mean Green has been picked to finish fourth by the league coaches in the upcoming championship while the women have been tabbed to finish in sixth place.
“We expect both races to be pretty close this weekend,” North Texas cross country head coach Robert Vaughan said. “We’ve been running pretty well of late and we’re relatively healthy. I think everyone is hitting their peak at the right time. We need everyone to run well to have a shot.”
Sophomore Patrick Strong leads the way for North Texas as he tries to improve on his fourth place finish from last season. The sophomore from New Zealand is coming off back-to-back second place finishes in his past two races at the Sam Houston and Ken Garland Invitational’s.
Joining Strong is a supporting cast of junior Brandon Cooper, sophomore Garrett Sage, senior Billy Giano, junior Josue Nunez and junior Matthew Peters. Giano placed seventh at the Sam Houston Invitational in a time of 19:31.10 in the 6200 meters. Overall the men’s team is ranked 11th in the South Central Regional Rankings.
Last year the men’s team finished second overall and are looking for their first cross country championship since the 2000 season.
On the women’s side the Mean Green will be taking seven runners, only one of which is a senior, Alex Sherwin. Joining her will be freshman Amy Alcala, sophomore Sallie Anderson, freshman Sarah Deitz, junior Phanice Orora, sophomore Tara Piles and junior Jessica Torres.
Dietz is coming off her best run of the season, finishing third in the 4k race at Sam Houston in a time of 14:24.60. The women as a whole also had their best finish by capturing third.
Last season the women finished in sixth place and were led by Torres, who finished the 5k race in a time of 19:26.70.
The championship will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. beginning with the women’s race while the men will follow shortly after at 11 a.m. Both races will be held at Kereiakes Park.