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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Cross Country

Cross country readies for Texas A&M Invitational


Barraza_Brian

The team has felt the effects of Brian Barraza’s absence this season, as the senior opted to redshirt his fourth year. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

This weekend’s cross country meet in College Station will be the team’s toughest meet so far this season.

After slowly seeing an increase in competition — both in quality and in sheer number of teams — between the Stephen F. Austin and Rice invitationals, the Cougars will face some of the most formidable schools in the state and the country when they compete in the Texas A&M Invitational.

The men of the cross country team have been dealt a heavy blow this season after senior Brian Barraza decided to redshirt. Barraza made a name for himself in his Cougar career by scoring valuable points at every meet and setting school records dating back to his freshman days.

There is a clear message that the team needs to elevate their performance to pick up the slack left by Barraza.

Luckily, sophomore G.J. Reyna has emerged as the leading runner for the men this season. Reyna has come into his second year with eighth and ninth-place finishes at the first two meets.

Reyna was the top placer for all Cougars at the Rice Invitational.

The men have somewhat struggled so far this season, as they have yet to crack a top-three finish as a team. The women’s team, however, has had a resurgence from last year.

Senior Maddie Brown was the top placer at nearly every meet last year and has continued to perform well with top-15 finishes at the first two meets.

The return of Selena Sierra after redshirting last year has proven instrumental as a runner who can score valuable points by finishing in the top five and as a motivating force for her teammates.

Both Brown and Sierra push each other daily at workouts and, in turn, their teammates look to them as the drive to perform well. The message shared between the women is to do it for each other and then they will succeed.

Regardless of the finishes this Saturday, both the men and women should be expected to have a great season. The goal across both teams is to be strong in the pack.

The men and women’s teams should deliver an excellent showing this Saturday in College Station.

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