The UH Cross Country program proved to be on a new path after impressive placements in the UH invitational competing against Houston Baptist Friday at MacGregor Park.
The Cougars, under the direction of head coach Leroy Burrell, ran a six-mile relay. Relay teams consisted of two members both running 1.5 miles. Each member ran a one-mile loop with relay exchanges completed at the start and finish line and half-mile mark.
“I told everyone, this is just a bench mark, stay relaxed. Let’s not get too hyped up, let’s just come out here and treat it like a work out. And by the looks of things, everybody stayed relaxed, everybody went out there and kind of handled their business,” assistant coach Steve Magness said.
“Nobody went out there and killed themselves; nobody got discouraged because everybody kind of knew we were just testing the waters. So I think everybody did pretty good.”
Relay mates in women’s cross country, sophomore Taylor Beer and senior Kathryn Ducommun, placed second after finishing with a time of 37:07. Julie Reinwald and Alexis Vick followed with a seventh-place finish, after an ending time of 39:09. Meanwhile, Selena Sierra and Yasiris Gonzalez clocked in at 40:53, placing 11th in the meet.
“I think I definitely stepped it from last year. My mind is right; I’m ready to compete. I’m not nervous or scared anymore,” Beer said. “Being a freshman last year, I was a little intimidated by the upperclassmen going to a D1 school, competing against other D1 athletes. This year I have more confidence in myself and I’m ready to go to the next level.”
The sophomore and junior duo for men’s cross country, Yonas Tesfai and Drevan Anderson-Kaapa, were also able to pull a second-place title with a concluding time of 31:17. A mere six seconds behind, Trevor Walker and James Broussard claimed the third place title after finishing in 31:23.
“I think the first thing we’re looking for is just kind of be competitive and kind of see where everyone’s at. And that’ll give us an idea of how good we can be and where we can kind of can go,” associate head track and field coach Kyle Tellez said.
“They did well. We had a solid pack on the guy’s side and the same on the women’s side. So as a solid opener, we got a lot of work to do, but it tells us where we’re at and we can kind of build off of this.”
Runners John Cantu and Nathan Pineda placed fifth after their 31:53 time, while Anthony Coleman and Mark Fernando earned a sixth-place finish, with a time of 32:20. Sam Dufford and Lexington Turner concluded for the men, finishing in at 35:06, placing eighth.
“This is really good. We haven’t done any work outs so far, at all. So this, just seeing where everybody is at, based off of just what kind of shape their in, it just shows how much potential we have for the season,” Magness said. “We have a really strong team and everybody held it down today, so, further down the season we’ll be picking up some serious speed.”