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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Cross Country

Reyna, men’s top runner, wins Rice Invitational


G.J. Reyna (right) started his junior campaign with a win at the Norry Hersey Rice Invitational. | File photo/The Cougar

In cross country’s first meet of the year, junior G.J. Reyna won the men’s race across town at the Norry Hersey Rice Invitational.

One year after placing eighth at the same meet, Reyna ran 19:49.72s to win the men’s 6250m run. His time was four seconds faster than the next-best runner.

Reyna was the top runner for the men in 2016, but this is his first meet win as a Cougar.

“Winning was my personal goal coming in, but to me that’s not the highlight today,” Reyna said. “As a team we really showed up. There were a couple of guys I was battling with until it was over.”

Reyna’s run solidified his spot as one of the top runners from the men’s squad. Now, as senior Brian Barraza and junior Blake Contreras return after a redshirt year, Reyna has put himself in a position to be a valuable point scorer for the men.

Senior runner Gabe Lara had the second best result for the Cougar men, placing fourth with a time of 19:54.55s. He and Reyna helped the men’s team to a second place finish with 50 points.

Head coach Steve Magness sent eleven members of the women’s squad to Rice on Friday, a majority of whom previously struggled with injuries. For three runners, the Norry Hershey Rice Invitational was their first competition as a Cougar.

Senior Ebony White and redshirt sophomore Meredith Sorensen are both returning from injuries. They were the top two runners for the women at the meet, finishing twelfth and thirteenth respectively in the women’s 3900m run.

After showing promise prior to injuries, both athletes will look to find that form again this season.

“Ebony White and Meredith Sorensen were both essentially hurt the entire year last season,” Magness said after the race, “and to see them come off major injuries and return and battle up front is inspiring and shows both of their characters and work ethic and determination.”

As a team, the women placed third overall, with a total of 72 points.

Cross country’s next meet is at the Texas A&M Invitational in College Station on Sept. 23.

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