The Longhorns take on the National Championship for the eighth consecutive year on Saturday in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Coming off of a tough meet at the regional championship last week, the Longhorn men face another challenging 10,000 meters on a course that hasn’t been kind to them because of its strenuous conditions — including rain, snow and mud. The team finished last in the event last season.
Redshirt senior Nate Moore, who finished fourth at regionals and led the team to a second-place finish, said the team has been taking it easy, focusing on recovery more than anything else.
“The biggest key is lots of sleep,” Moore said. “Lots of time spent on that couch. You don’t want to spend your time hiking. You want to lay low and hydrate.”
And it’s better to be safe than sorry — especially after last year, when the team spent two days prior to the championship stranded in an Atlanta airport. Spending the night at the airport made for an uncomfortable situation, especially for Moore, who ran a fever afterwards.
This year, the team is determined to prove it’s much improved.
“We’ve got more depth,” Moore said. “We’re stronger on the front end and have guys who can do better at scoring low points.”
Scoring low points — quick finishes — will be crucial against several Power Five teams, including longtime rivals No. 2 Colorado and No. 9 Oklahoma State.
“In this race, 10 seconds will separate 40 runners,” assistant coach Brad Herbster said. “It’s really important that we step up, close those gaps and win those battles.”
Though Texas would be thrilled with a first-place finish, the team is shooting to land in the top 15. The Longhorns say the more teams they beat, the better. And Moore, the only redshirt senior on the team, has goals of his own to add to the mix.
“I’d like to seal off my cross country career with an All-American title,” Moore said.