ARLINGTON, Texas - It's hard to believe, but the final tune-up prior to the Sun Belt Conference Championships is here for the UTA cross country teams.
By the time the Mavericks line up at the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday, UTA will be just 15 days away from competing in the year's signature meet, the league championships. All the miles logged and early-morning wake ups are about to pay dividends.
But before the SBC Championships, one big challenge remains. It's one meet that has provided a solid measuring stick for the programs over recent years.
In 2013, the UTA men announced themselves to the cross country world by placing second at the Crimson Classic. The result vaulted the Mavericks from 15th to third in the NCAA South Central Regional rankings, the highest ever for a UTA squad. (Since that time, the Mavs have held that standing several more times).
The women also earned a top-five finish at the meet that year, which annually brings a bevy of regionally ranked teams among their two-dozen-plus participating teams. This year, 14 women's teams are listed among the top-15 in their regions, including Florida State (No. 3, South) and Texas A&M (No. 5, South Central).
The men's field contains 12 teams ranked in their respective regions, including Middle Tennessee (No. 1, South), Alabama (No. 3, South), Texas A&M (No. 3, South Central) and Georgia Tech (No. 4, South). UTA is currently ranked ninth in the South Central Region.
"Historically, this has been a great meet for us to participate in," UTA coach John Sauerhage said. "We anticipate being able to compete well again here against very strong fields. It will no doubt serve as great preparation for the Sun Belt Conference meet, where our teams will be tested."
The men will compete in the 8k race at Harry Pritchett Running Park at 9 a.m., while the women will follow with a 6k starting at 9:45 a.m. Live results will be available here.
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For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics. Follow the UTA cross country/track & field program @UTA_Track on Twitter.
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