XC: Mavs men post perfect score to win UTA Season Opener

Freshman Virgilio Martinez won the UTA Season Opener in his first-ever meet.

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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.

The other UTA point scorers were sophomore Ashly Wright, who took 19th in 11:56.3, and sophomore Sydney Hampton(24th, 12:06.6).

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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