Longhorns fall short at NCAA Championships

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Photo Credit: Graeme Hamilton | Daily Texan Staff

Texas’ season-long goal was to qualify for the NCAA championships. Saturday, both teams competed at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky, with hopes of earning a national crown.

The women ran a 6,000-meter race, finishing last of 31 competing teams.

The men first hovered in the middle of the 10,000-meter race but fell to 31st as well.

Head coach Brad Herbster said Texas must rebound from its pair of last-place finishes.

“Today, we did not accomplish what we set out to accomplish,” Herbster said. “We are young, but now we must cross over from being young to being good.”

Only three of the 14 Longhorn contenders this weekend had raced in the national championship event before, but Herbster said youth isn’t an excuse for a last-place finish.

Next season, Texas will also rely on young talent, as the No. 18 cross country runner in the Class of 2016 signed with Texas
last week.

“With the recruiting class coming in next year for both the men and women, it should change a lot of things for the program,” Herbster said. “However, we also have the people in place more than capable to step up and contribute in a big way.”

Senior Connor Ward was the first Longhorn to cross the line in the women’s race at 192nd place. She finished more than two minutes behind Notre Dame senior Molly Seidel, the race’s top finisher.

Redshirt freshman Jacob Pickle’s 106th finish was the best Texas performance in the men’s race.Oregon junior Edward Cheserek won the event for a record third time in a row. His 28:45.8 time topped Villanova junior Patrick Tiernan’s second-place time by 25.3 seconds.

New Mexico dominated the women’s field en route to an 80-point victory. The men’s race was much closer, as Syracuse edged defending champion Colorado by 9 points for the NCAA title.

Many Longhorn cross country runners will compete in the spring track and field season. Indoor events begin Jan. 16, and outdoor season starts March 17.