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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Cross Country

Cougars head to AAC Cross County Championship in Tennessee


The Cougars head to Memphis, Tennessee. to compete in the AAC Cross Country Championship on Friday. Both the men's and the women's teams hope to dethrone Tulsa, who are the men's team champs, and Wichita, who edged out Tulsa's women's team in 2018. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

The Cougars head to Memphis, Tennessee. to compete in the AAC Cross Country Championship on Friday. Both the men’s and the women’s teams hope to dethrone Tulsa, who are the men’s team champs, and Wichita, who edged out Tulsa’s women’s team in 2018. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

The American Athletic Conference Cross Country regular season has come to an end, and now, the best runners from teams across the conference will travel to compete on Friday at the AAC Cross Country Championship in Memphis, Tennessee.

The men’s team will look to finish in the top-five team performances for the first time since 2015, where they finished third.  

The following three years Houston finished eight, sixth and ninth in the conference championships. 

Houston has not had a men’s runner make the All-Conference team since 2017, when then-redshirt senior Brian Barraza finished runner-up in the 8,000 meters with a time of 25:06.

Barraza went on to compete at the NCAA South Central Regional, finishing runner-up in the 10K with a time of 29:51.5 and qualifying for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, where he finished 61st with a time of 30:19.4. 

The women’s team has yet to finish in the top-five team standings since 2013, where their highest team finish was sixth place in 2014.

There has never been a runner from the women’s team to make the All-Conference team.

The men’s team will take nine runners to Memphis, led by sophomore Jemal Wote, who was the first Cougar for the men’s side to finish at the Lake Charles Toyota Stampede and the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational. 

The men’s team had a strong start to the season, where they finished in fourth place at their first event of the season, the Rice Invitational, then placed first in the Lake Charles Toyota Stampede before closing out the regular season with a seventh place finish at Santa Clara Bronco Invitational. 

The men’s team, who sit in seventh for the season, will look to dethrone Tulsa, who has finished first in the conference championship for the last five years. 

Last season, Tulsa had seven of their runners finish in the All-Conference team, with a total of 29 runners finish in the top 15 finishers over the last five years of the AAC Cross Country Championships.

On the women’s side, 10 runners will also be making an appearance at the conference championship. The women’s team is positioned as fifth in the conference after winning two meets this season.

Senior Jahnavi Schneider, who led the team with her 17th-place finish at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational, looks to land in a top-five position in the conference championship standings for the first time in school history. 

The women’s team finished first place in their first two invites at the Rice and Lake Charles invitationals, with a 12th place finish at Santa Clara.

As for the women’s conference championship, defending champions Wichita State are looking to repeat and remain at the top of the AAC in only its third year in the conference.

The 2019 AAC Conference Championship begins about 10 a.m. on Friday and can be viewed on Facebook with the American Digital Network.

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