Mean Green Cross Country Hoping For Success At Regionals
Last Chance For North Texas To Qualify for Nationals
DENTON – The North Texas men’s and women’s cross country teams will head back to College Station to take part in the NCAA South Central Regional championships Friday, Nov. 13 starting at 10 a.m. at the Watts Cross Country Course.
The women’s 6k begins at 10 a.m., while the men’s 10k starts at 11 a.m. The top two teams and the first four finishers in the race not associated with those two teams will advance to the NCAA Championships held Nov. 21 in Louisville.
“Entering the NCAA South Central Region championship I've emphasized to the team how prepared they are for this race,” cross country head coach Stefanie Slekis said. “We focused all fall on preparing for a hard 6k and 10k at the end of the season. They've done the workouts to handle the pace on this course and all of our training was timed around being ready to run fast in November.”
On the men’s side, the Mean Green are ranked No. 6 but have been as high as No. 3 this season. The men’s team took third at the C-USA championships two weeks ago and are hoping to compete for individual spots to the NCAA championships. Sophomore Mike Lowe led the team with a ninth place finish, earning all-conference honors. Seniors Bryce McAndrew (12th) and Silvester Harrison III (17th) also placed in the top 21 to earn all-conference status. Junior Grady Frazier finished 21st to earn all-conference for the first time in his career.
Both teams are looking to build upon last year’s regional finishes after the men’s team took fourth and the women’s team finished eighth. Entering the regionals, the women’s squad is ranked No. 9 in the South Central region. Senior Magdalena Escobar came in 21st to earn all-conference at the C-USA championships with a time of 18:33.6. Sophomore Christina Moralez (25th) and junior Shauna Pali (44th) will look to keep improving from the conference championships. Freshmen Catalina Uriarte and classmate Cassidy Adams round out the top five runners for the women’s team.
This could be the last race for a bunch of Mean Green cross country seniors but there is still a lot at stake for some of the most successful seniors in the history of the program.
“Our top runners are still competing for individual spots to the NCAA Championships,” added Slekis. “In the team race to NCAAs on the men's side I think you have to race hard as if anything can happen for the second automatic qualifying spot. They're focused on racing hard because we trained for this moment no matter what year they are. The seniors also still have full indoor and outdoor seasons left so this isn't their last race for North Texas. We emphasize that this is the race we've trained for and to go take risks and run the race we've trained months to have.”