Magness takes C-USA award
Years of hard work paid off for senior cross-country runner Stephen Magness, who was named Conference USA Cross Country Athlete of the Week for the first time Monday.
Magness won the awarda by finishing fourth overall with 24:27 at the 8K Texas A’M Invitational on Sept. 22 in College Station.
"To be selected the best of a good group of programs is definitely an honor," Magness said. "It feels good."
Head coach Ryan Turner recognized the hard work that it takes to win an award of this magnitude.
"It’s great that Steve got this award because he’s deserving of it and he works hard," Turner said. "He’s a great leader to the program and it’s an honor that reflects the hard work he has put in."
Junior women’s runner Kelcee Keenan has known Magness since high school, and she also knows how tough it is to win the award.
"There are a lot of good runners in the conference. The guys have a strong conference (including) UTEP and others," Keenan said. "I’m happy to see him get that (award) because it’s a huge honor for him and the team to get the Houston Cougar name out there."
For Magness, this achievement is only the beginning of what he hopes will be a successful season.
"This is definitely not my ultimate goal," Magness said. "It is kind of a stepping stone because I want to be in the top three or four. I want to make nationals and be an All-American."
Turner does not want Magness to stop there, either.
"We want to see him win it again," Turner said. "He is definitely one of the top runners – if not the best runner – that I’ve ever coached."
The UH cross-country team will take its momentum into Corpus Christi at 11AM today for the Islander Classic.
The men’s team will be running three miles, while the women will race two miles.
Turner said he expects the women’s team to gain experience from this meet as they learn to compete more fiercely.
Magness and sophomores Daniel Martinez and Ahmed Harb will be sitting out this weekend to rest up for future meets.
Turner expects his team to race to their full potential, even though the course in Corpus Christi has a tough terrain.
"It’s a very difficult course because it’s so hilly, but we will have to see how we respond," Turner said. "Any time we put on a UH uniform, we are going to compete. Whether we are fresh or tired, we are still going to do the best we can do."