BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky (11-01-08) Thanks in part to top-10 finishes from Patrick Strong and Sara Dietz, the North Texas men’s and women’s cross country teams placed third and fourth respectively at the Sun Belt Cross Country Championships.
Dietz was named the Freshman of the Year in the Sun Belt Conference after her 10th place finish in the 5k race. She finished with a time of 19:05.34 and was named to the all-conference team.
Strong led the way for the men with a time of 25:26.41 in the 8k race to finish third and earn a spot on the all-conference team for the second consecutive season. He also improved from last year’s race when he finished fourth place.
Billy Giano finished in 13th with a time of 26:10.91 while Garrett Sage ran a time of 27:04.67 to finish 26th. Brandon Cooper, who entered the race as the Mean Green’s third runner, was unable to finish the race due to dehydration. Josue Nunez (27:33) and Matthew Peters (27:36.57) rounded out the race for North Texas
“Overall I liked how the men ran,” North Texas head coach Robert Vaughan said. “Patrick did better than he did last season and Garrett Sage really stepped up. If Brandon hadn’t gone down we may have made it very close for that second place finish.”
Overall the men finished with 110 points, tied for third with Middle Tennessee State. Western Kentucky defended their home track by taking the championship with 50 points.
On the women’s side North Texas improved from last season’s sixth place by finishing fourth with 113 points. Western Kentucky took the top spot for the third straight year with 32 points.
Following Dietz was Phanice Orora, who finished with a time of 19:33.74 to finish 15th. Sallie Anderson clocked in at 19:56.23 while freshman Amy Alcala finished at 20:16.83. Jessica Torres (20:26.46), Tara Piles (20:45.80) and Alex Sherwin (21:12.21) finished out the race for North Texas in that order.
North Texas now prepares for the South Central Regional on Nov. 15 in Waco, Texas.