Sept. 9, 2011
Arlington, Texas - The UT Arlington men's and women's cross country teams open their season at the UT Arlington Season Opener on Saturday at Vandergriff Park. Race time is set for 8 a.m.
The women's team finished fourth at the Southland Conference Tournament last season, and head coach John Sauerhage expects a competitive race on Saturday.
"We've got Baylor coming in here tomorrow who's annually making championships across the country, TCU who's off to a good start and has a solid team, and SMU is loaded with top distance runners", Sauerhage said. "This is gonna be a heck of a girl's race."
The women's team is led by sophomore Emily Koenig, the returning SLC Female Athlete of the Year in 2010. Koenig won four races in 2010 and became UT Arlington's first true freshman to win an SLC individual championship.
Sauerhage is confident that the team will make a run at the 2011 SLC title.
"I'm excited to get the season started. We're really optimistic in our women's team. We're optimistic that (Koenig) can run at a high level again. We'll finish top three in the conference, maybe top eight in the region," said Sauerhage.
The men's team, led by junior Cody Widener, is coming back from a seventh place finish at the 2010 SLC Championships. They are looking for significant improvements in 2011 behind several newcomers.
Emil Blomberg, brothers Phillip and Jacob Critelli, and Anthony Hilliman are all true freshman looking to make an immediate impact to the team. Blomberg, however, won't run until the September 17th at the Baylor meet in Waco.
"Cody Widener and our young team are ready to get a meet under our belt," said Sauerhage. "They're healthy and training well. We're a couple weeks away from piecing it all together, but the men are healthy and training hard."
The field of teams for the women consists of Baylor, Northwood, SMU, TCU and Texas Wesleyan. On the men's side, Arlington Baptist College, Baylor, Northwood, TCU and Texas Wesleyan will all be in attendance.