XC: Cross country targets big opportunities at South Central Regional

Craig Lautenslager was the runner up at the Sun Belt Championships and was the team's top runner at last year's regional race.

Nov. 13, 2013

South Central Regional Meet NotesGet Acrobat Reader

ARLINGTON, Texas - After impressive showings at the Sun Belt Conference Championships, the UT Arlington men's and women's cross country teams now set their sights on Friday's NCAA South Central Regional hosted by Baylor University.

Both teams will compete Friday morning at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco, Texas. The men, the Sun Belt champions, will run a 10k beginning at 10 a.m., while the women, the conference runner up, will start their 6k trek at 11:15 a.m. Admission is $5 for all ages.

"We're certainly ready to run," head coach John Sauerhage said. "We expect to have a great race from both our men's and women's teams and are looking forward to very good competition."

The men's squad is currently ranked third in the region, behind only a pair of nationally ranked teams--Arkansas and Texas. It is the Mavericks' highest regional ranking in school history. The top two schools at the regional, along with the top four runners not on a qualifying team, will advance to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 23.

Depth has been key to the men's success, as three different runners have paced the squad through five meets. In addition, five members earned All-Sun Belt Conference accolades two weeks ago as UTA's five point scorers all placed among the meet's top seven.

Sophomore Craig Lautenslager led the team for the second time this season with a runner-up showing at the league championships. Junior Ryan Tilotta, who has been among the Mavs' top two in each meet, finished right behind his teammate.

Junior Emil Blomberg (fifth place) also earned first-team all-league honors, while freshman Eric Ojeda (sixth) and sophomore Virgilio Martinez (seventh) made the second team.

Rounding out the squad's seven runners at the regional will be true freshmen Carlos Arias and Grant Copeland.

"All season we've talked about running well in November, and we geared our training specifically to be peaking now," Sauerhage said. "We had an outstanding meet at conference and now it's time to perform well at the South Central Regional, a meet we've been pointing toward all season."

Meanwhile, the women's team has been listed among the top 15 in the South Central Regional rankings since the first week of the season and is coming off its best league finish since 2003. Four women earned all-league accolades, placing three (junior Hannah Nilsson, sophomore Gabriela Alfonzo and junior Ashly Wright) on the second team and one (sophomore Katelyn Hayward) on the third team.

In addition to that quartet, Maverick junior Sydney Hampton and freshman Alison Williams will also race in Waco.

The men figure to improve mightily on last year's 11th-place showing at the NCAA South Central Regional. On the women's side, just two women participated at the 2012 meet, as the Mavs did not compete as a team.

Live results will be available at DeltaTiming.com, while the meet central page is located at BaylorBears.com.





  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago