At the regional cross country meet last Saturday, the women stepped up first and the men followed their lead.
“We need a date to the dance,” senior Brady Turnbull said. “The women made it, and we made it, so there you go. We saw the girls qualify, and seeing them step up and make in the race right before us motivated us. We had to go out there and race within ourselves. If we went out and raced the way that we had all season we could get it done. The guys team has been focusing on the pack mentality all season and you can see it in our finishes.”
The Longhorns travel to Louisville, Kentucky, to compete in the NCAA championship Saturday morning. The women’s 6k will start at 11 a.m., followed by the men’s 10k at noon.
Author's note: All axes are reversed, so values that appear higher on the graphs represent faster times/higher ranks. Data compiled from 2006-2015 from texassports.com by Tyler Horka. Interactive created by Junyuan Tan.
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The Longhorns plan to run together in the upcoming NCAA Championship meet.
“[They] start in a group, literally in a tight pack, and make sure [they] are covering moves,” assistant coach Brad Herbster said. “Really what [they] are doing is getting comfortable on the track and positioning [themselves] with [their] teammates.”
Junior Mary Beth Hamilton also said the “pack mentality” has worked this season.
“We went in to regionals knowing that we would have to approach it with a different strategy than other teams were — knowing that we wouldn’t have a low stick and that girl way out front,” Hamilton said.
Herbster talked to the women before their last meet about qualifying for nationals.
“We talked about it for two weeks to make sure they understood it’s not about fitness at this point — it’s just about who wants it the most,” Herbster said. “The women got out there and it wasn’t about position. We grouped it up and got it done.”
The men’s team has finished in the top 15 at the NCAA championship two of the last three years. This is the women’s first NCAA championship qualification since 2012. It’s also the first time since 2012 that both teams have qualified.
Turnbull is enjoying a productive senior season. He’s been one of the top three Longhorns to cross the finish line in every race this year. Turnbull advanced to the cross country NCAA championships last year and qualified for the Big 12 Championships in cross country, outdoor and indoor distance events last season.
“Last race with my teammates towing the line together, they know that,” Turnbull said. “They know what it means to me and what this team has come together to do. It’s been a good season for me so far. One more 10k.”