ARLINGTON, Texas -- The UT Arlington men's cross country team swept the top five places en route to a perfect score of 15 to easily win the UTA Season Opener at Vandergriff Park Saturday morning. The women's team placed third on a blustery morning.
Arlington native Virgilio Martinezcruised to victory in his first collegiate start, as the freshman posted an impressive time of 14:55.8 over the men's 5K race.
"It was a lot of fun," Martinez said. "Winning my first race gives me a lot of motivation. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."
His winning time clocked out to a quick 4:47 mile. Martinez was greeted by a number of friends and family members following the race, including his father, who was watching him compete in a cross country meet for the first time ever.
"I felt pretty relaxed even though the last lap was at a brisk pace," Martinez said. "We decided we were going to work off each other and it really paid off for the team."
Fellow UTA freshman Craig Lautenslager (15:04.9) crossed the finish line as the runner up. Sophomore Ryan Tilotta, also making his first-ever appearance for the Mavericks, finished third in 15:07.6. Senior Cody Widener placed fourth in 15:16.8 and was followed across the line by sophomore Emil Blomberg(5th, 15:19.4).
"It was very impressive all the way around," head coach John Sauerhagesaid. "Any time you win a competition, it means something. It was a shorter distance than we normally run, but this is what we wanted--to show that we can compete. We have a long way to go, but that was a wonderful start."
Baylor finished second with 41 points, while North Texas placed third (81).
On the women's side, sophomore Hannah Nilsson paced the Mavericks with a 13th-place finish. She posted a time of 11:36.9 over the 2-mile circuit. A pair of freshmen, Gabriela Alfonzo (11:40.7) and Katelyn Hayward(11:41.7) finished 15th and 16th, respectively.
Baylor and SMU tied for first in the women's competition with scores of 29.
"I thought it went really well," Hayward said. "I think overall everyone ran well and as a team. It was a good start to the season."
UTA returns to action next Saturday in Ruston, La., at the Louisiana Tech Mook 4.
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