The stakes are high for the Longhorns as they travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the NCAA South Central Regional Championship on Friday.
Hosted by the University of Arkansas, the championship features teams from all over Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. And while it’s not the largest meet the Longhorns have competed in thus far, it bears a lot of weight. Only the top two teams are guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Championship later this month, while others rely on an invite from the NCAA.
Sophomore Alex Rogers hopes the men’s team controls its own destiny with a big performance this weekend.
“We have to place in the top two,” Rogers said. “We have to try our best to get back to the national meet. We’re going to see who has the most guts and I know we do.”
The Longhorn women also hope to make a splash this weekend. Though they finished seventh in the Big 12 Championship two weeks ago, they can draw on experiences from finishing second at last year’s South
Despite what’s on the line for the team as a whole, the championship holds extra meaning for one particular member of the women’s team. Senior Sandie Raines transferred to Texas from Arkansas two years ago, and she knows this is her last run at achieving All-American status.
“It’s the course I started my career on as a freshman,” Raines said. “This is my last year of cross probably in my life. So this meet means a lot to me.”
The women’s 6,000-meter race is set to begin at 11 a.m., followed by the men’s 10,000-meter run at noon.