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XC: Men's cross country runs to WAC title

Virgiiio Martinez was named WAC Freshman of the Year.

 
Virgiiio Martinez was named WAC Freshman of the Year.
 

Oct. 27, 2012

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RUSTON, La. - The UT Arlington men's cross country team utilized its depth to win the school's first-ever Western Athletic Conference crown in any sport on Saturday. The Mavericks secured four of the race's top 10 spots to edge Utah State in the team standings.

"The men competed with heart and showed why they deserved to be champions during the second half of the race," WAC Coach of the Year John Sauerhage said. "My emotions are of deep pride for the kids. They really deserved this great victory."

Virgilio Martinez, who was named the league's Freshman of the Year, was once again the top finisher for UTA. The Arlington native snagged fifth place after crossing the line with a time of 24:47.09 in the 8k race.

The young Mavs then nailed down spots 7-9 courtesy of fellow freshman Craig Lautenslager (24:50.61) as well as sophomores Emil Blomberg (24:51.38) and Ryan Tilotta (24:52.22).

Martinez and Lautenslager earned first-team all-league accolades, while Blomberg and Tilotta were named to the second team.

Senior Cody Widener was the final scorer for the Mavericks, as he placed 19th (25:12.92). Hance Loyd (21st, 25:14.82) and Eric Montou (25:25.30) were the team's sixth and seventh finishers, respectively.

Despite being the highest regionally-ranked team in the nine-team field, the men were picked to finish fifth by the league's head coaches earlier this week. Instead, the Mavericks claimed the league title in its lone try by defeating the defending champions from Utah State by four points (48-52).

The Mavericks' team title was its first since winning the Southland Conference in 1999 and fourth all time.

The UTA women's team, which has only freshmen and sophomores on its roster, placed fifth among eight schools with 125 points. For the fifth time in as many meets, Hannah Nilsson (18:04.96) paced the Mavs, finishing 12th. As a result, Nilsson was named to the All-WAC second team.

"Our women also ran very well today," Sauerhage said. "That was definitely our best meet for the year. Hannah continued to run extremely well."

Gabriela Alfonzo placed 23rd with a time of 18:24.50, while Sydney Hampton also was among the top 25 (25th, 18:28.97).

The Mavericks other point scorers were Ashly Wright (29th, 18:42.07) and Katelyn Hayward (38th, 18:56.62).


 

 

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