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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Cross Country

Cougars looking for continued success at AAC Conference Championship


Junior Brian Barraza will be looking to build on an already-illustrious career at the American Athletic Conference Championship this weekend. | File photo/The Cougar

The 2015 cross country season has been marked by success on the men’s and women’s teams. And they look to continue that success at the upcoming American Athletic Conference Championship meet on Saturday.

Juniors Brian Barraza and Maddie Brown have been spearheading their respective teams all season. Along with recently-promoted head coach, Steve Magness, they are hoping their success will help them lead their squads to great triumphs at the conference meet and further.

“It’s gone really well,” Magness said. “On the individual side, both Brian and Maddie have stepped up their game this year. On the team side, at every race we’ve gotten better and improved our times, and that’s what it’s all about.”

The Cougars are coming off considerable success at the Pre-National meet where both the men and women finished in the top 50 — 41st and 31st respectively.

Barraza and Brown were once again the top runners for the squad and both see the team’s experience at the meet as useful for future success.

“I think running pre-nats is always a good experience,” Barraza said. “Not only because you get to see what the national course looks like, but also it’s one of the few meets where you actually get to go up against teams that are legitimately ranked. When you get to competitions like that, you’re able to see where you actually stack up against guys you always hear about. It’s a good experience, and even if you’re not super competitive at a meet like that, it gives you a huge advantage coming into conference.”

Browns sees the meet as a good way to measure progress.

“Going into conference you’re more prepared and you are more comfortable,” Brown said. “You have more confidence since you’ve already gone up against such huge schools that you feel like you’re capable of achieving your goals.”

On the men’s side, James Broussard and Yonas Tesfai have shown a new drive that will greatly help the team.

On the women’s side, youth has been key. Freshman runners like Meredith Sorensen and Nikita Prasad have gained experience week by week and will play a big role at the meet.

Ultimately, Magness has big hopes for both his teams at the conference meet and is confident that his runners will be able to fulfill their goals at Tulsa on Saturday.

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