Cougar earns track honors

The newest members of the cross-country squad made the biggest contributions when the Cougars competed Saturday in the Conference USA Championship at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis, Tenn.

Freshman Stephanie Aldea was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year, the first time a Cougar has won the award. The women’s team placed fifth with 145 points, and the men finished sixth with 156 points.

SMU placed first in the women’s competition with 40 points, while Tulsa won the men’s championship with 27 points.

"Our women raced some of the best teams in the country today. We lost to two top 25 teams (SMU and Rice), Tulsa, who has always been tough, and UAB, who has finished in the top three at every meet they’ve ran in all season," head coach Ryan Turner said in a press release.

Aldea placed ninth overall in the race with a time of 17 minutes 38 seconds. Fellow freshman Starla Garcia placed 21st overall and ran the race in 18:19, and both Aldea and Garcia were given All-Conference honors.

In the men’s competition, freshman Anthony Jordan paced Houston and finished the race in 26:51 for a 28th-spot finish. Freshman Nate Pineda, who was named the C-USA Cross Country Athlete of the Week twice this season, came in 30th with a time of 27:00.

"We had a realistic chance of placing in the top five, but fell short by 9 points…. So it’s hard to be disappointed when individually we competed really well," Turner said. "We’re really young. In time, these guys should develop into a strong group for future seasons."

The team members will have another chance to gain more experience when the Cougars head to the NCAA South Central Regional in Waco on Nov. 15.

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