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Monday, October 23, 2017

Cross Country

Barraza returns to cross-country College Station win


Senior Brian Barraza (right) won the Texas A&M Invitational in 2015 and won it again in 2017 after redshirting 2016 | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

Long before fans filled TDECU Stadium for Saturday’s football match, nine Cougars were in College Station to compete at the Texas A&M Invitational for cross-country.

Senior Brian Barraza had a near-perfect return to cross-country competition after redshirting 2016. In his first meet since 2015, Barraza won the men’s 8,000-meter race in a time of 23 minutes, 51.5 seconds. He may not have matched his time of 23:28.04 from two years ago, but he was still able to win the meet regardless.

The men as a team improved from ninth last year to fifth this year. Junior G.J. Reyna continued his strong running after a breakout performance in 2016. He improved on his 24th-place finish at the 2016 Texas A&M Invitational, placing 19th with a time of 24:39.7.

In total the men scored 137 points in their fifth-place finish, showing they have the talent to run with some of the best in the country.

The women also continued to improve. They finished seventh as a team after placing ninth in 2016.

The Texas A&M meet was senior Jennifer Dunlap’s first race of the season. She led the way for the women as the top placer for the Cougars at 24th with a time of 21:56.9.

Redshirt sophomore Meredith Sorensen was less than a full second behind Dunlap, placing 25th in 21:57.6. Sorensen is one runner that head coach Steve Magness hopes to see return to top form after suffering an injury last season, while Dunlap is expected to carry her success in track and field onto the cross-country course.

The Cougars now have three weeks to do nothing but train. Their next meet is the Pre-Nationals in Louisville on Oct. 14. After that, it’s on to the conference meet.

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