Elements affect NCAA run
The 2013 NCAA South Central Region Championships presented UH’s cross country teams with physical challenges that affected the teams’ performance.
Junior sprinter Yonas Tesfai placed 18th in the men’s 10K with a time of 30:54.4 and was named to the All-Region Team after the meet on Friday. Tesfai had run the course last year while he was injured and was unable to deliver up to his standards. This season, Tesfai and the team trekked a hilly course that featured tough winds.
The men’s team finished in 11th place with 271 points; the University of Arkansas took first place in men’s and women’s.
“Like Coach said, we’re kind of learning from each meet. I’m guessing I’m learning (slowly), but we just got to believe that we have what it takes to be in the top, stay in the top,” Tesfai said. “At the end, it’s anybody’s race, really. I know we’re all in better shape, so hopefully we’ll do good track season, indoor and outdoor.”
Cross country head coach Steve Magness expected the team to give a performance that would land it a spot in the National Championships, but the Cougars faced a steep course after training on a flat surface preceding the meet.
“I think everyone did the best that they can, and that’s all I can ask for, especially when you’re looking at running. It’s a very painful thing to do. So everyone put it all out there, so I’m not disappointed in the team,” Magness said.
“There were a couple of execution things where we didn’t quite put ourselves in position to be in place to do what we needed to do, and I think part of that is that we have a relatively young team and don’t have any seniors on the team running cross.”
Sophomore Selena Sierra led the women’s team, placing 43rd with a time of 21:56.4. Junior Taylor Beer trailed behind with the second-best time of the Cougars, with 22:55.6. The women’s team crossed the finish line with 456 points in 16th place.
“I think the biggest thing is sometimes, in order to accomplish big goals, you have to take risks, and I think we ran solidly; it was an average race. But when you’re up against some of the best teams and individuals in the region and nation, you sometimes have to take risks to accomplish what you did,” Magness said.
“And I think playing it safe cost us; playing it safe probably cost Yonas a trip to nationals, especially, but those are the lessons you have to learn sometimes, even if they’re kind of hard to swallow at the time.”