BestOf15-16: Cross Country claims SBC Championship

July 25, 2016

By Brooke Ortale |

ARLINGTON, Texas – The UT Arlington sports year was filled with upsets, championships, buzzer-beaters and memorable performances that will go down in Maverick history.

Leading up to the 2016-17 seasons beginning with UTA volleyball in August UTA Athletics is making sure we do not forget the accomplishments of the past season. Running from June through August, we will be counting down the top-15 moments and performances with "Best of 2015-16" features.

Moment No. 4: Cross Country Win's SBC Championship
The UT Arlington men's cross country team came through to claim its third league title in the past four years and senior Eric Ojeda also was crowned the individual champion at the Sun Belt Conference Championships in Atlanta, Ga. on November 1.

All five UTA point scorers placed among the top 20 as the men finished with a total of 52 points. Appalachian State was second with 66 points.

The Mavericks went into the final checkpoint (7k) trailing by seven points, but made a huge push over the final 1,000 meters. One of the heroic efforts came from Grayson Birka, who passed five runners, including three from runner-up Appalachian State, in the final 800 meters.



"The men's race was off the charts," UTA coach John Sauerhage said. "It truly was one of the best cross country efforts in UTA history. Our depth won us a championship."

Ojeda netted a time of 25:17.8 to win the race by 13 seconds. He was in third place three-quarters through the race before pulling away. As a result, the senior became a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference pick for the second consecutive season.

A pair of Mavericks, Christopher Myers and Grant Copeland, were named to the second team. Myers placed eighth in 26:01.3, while Copeland was 10th (26:04.7).

Tyler Forde was named to the SBC's third team after placing 15th in 26:23.7. Birka (18th, 26:34.2) was the team's final point scorer.

The Mavericks were victorious despite being without Michael Guerrero, the team's top runner four times in five earlier races this year, who was unable to compete due to injury.


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