Nov. 15, 2013
WACO, Texas - Craig Lautenslager earned all-region honors to highlight the morning for the UT Arlington contingent at the NCAA South Central Regional Friday in Waco, Texas. The men's team placed eighth, while the women's squad took 12th, in the final event of the season.
Lautenslager, who also was the top finisher for the Mavs at last year's NCAA Regional (27th), improved 10 spots to 17th with a 10k time of 30:53.0. The top 25 runners at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course earned all-region accolades.
The sophomore was just shy of grabbing one of the four automatic individual NCAA Championships qualifying spots, which go to the top four runners on non-qualifying teams. Lautenslager placed sixth among the candidates, 20 seconds off the pace.
"I felt like I couldn't have run much faster," Lautenslager said. "I had a big personal best in the first five miles and I'm very happy with how I ran. It was a fast race; a lot faster than I was expecting."
Ryan Tilotta also had a strong performance, as he placed 30th in 31:16.1. The junior was just seven seconds off an all-region time and finished the season as one of the Mavs' top two runners in every meet.
Fellow junior Emil Blomberg came in 43rd with a time of 31:45.1. UTA's final two point scorers, sophomore Virgilio Martinez (32:24.7) and freshman Eric Ojeda (32:26.2), placed 65th and 66th, respectively.
The men's other two participants were true freshmen--Carlos Arias (84th, 32:58.1) and Grant Copeland (107th, 33:40.1).
UTA (221) finished three spots better than last year and was just four points behind seventh-place Texas A&M (217). Arkansas won the men's crown with 34 points.
"This year we were really thirsty for regionals," Lautenslager said. "We didn't quite do what we hoped, and I know some of my teammates are disappointed with how they ran, but I know we ran our hardest."
The women's harriers followed with a 12th-place team landing, totaling 296 points. Last year, UTA did not participate as a unit.
Sophomore Gabriela Alfonzo was the top Maverick for the third time this season, as she placed 46th with a clocking of 21:58.3 in the 6k race. She was exactly one second faster than junior teammate Hannah Nilsson (47th, 22:59.3).
"We had strong seasons from both our men and our women this year," head coach John Sauerhage said. "We had a few disappointing finishes today, but we will learn from this and be ready to compete next year. We are excited to have all of our runners from today back for 2014."
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