Men's Cross Country takes 11th at NCAA Championships
Nov. 21, 2011
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Texas Men's Cross Country team earned an 11th place finish at the 2011 NCAA Championships on Monday in Terre Haute, Ind.
"Our race today was a big jump for our program," said cross country coach John Hayes. "Our guys understand that most of the top teams this year had a lot of older guys. The future looks bright and young kids who are long distance runners are seeing that Texas is a great option."
As it has been all year, the team was led by true freshman Craig Lutz. The Highland Village, Texas native came in 33rd overall with a time of 30:02.0, over 30 seconds faster than last week's time.
"We did a lot of preparation coming in and coach told me about the race as much as he could, but when you get out there and start running it was definitely harder than I was expecting," said Lutz. "I have never been in a race with that much pain but walking away from it I am honored to be an All-American."
His top 40 finish earned him All-American honors as he became the 20th Cross Country All-American in school history. He was also the top true freshman in the race and second among all freshmen runners. It is the second straight year a Texas runner was the top freshman in the NCAA Championships as Ryan Dohner had the best time among first-year runners last year. This year redshirt freshman Lawi Lalang of Arizona won the individual title with a time of 28:44.1.
"Anytime you have an All-American it is an honor but for him to do it as a freshman is spectacular," said Hayes. "Mark Pinales was also one of the top five freshmen in the country so he should not be overlooked either just because Craig finished so high. He is also a kid who does everything right."
Pinales ended up 117th overall with a time of 30:56.4 in the race and along with Lutz and his teammates had been training all year for the 10K national championship race and the training was able to pay off as they made a move in the final stretch of the race.
"Points can swing either way depending on one finish or another and the report we got was we were in around 14th place at the 8K mark," said Lutz. "We were able to make up three spots in that last 2K so we are really proud of our team and are one of the hardest fighting teams out there."
Sophomore Ryan Dohner helped the team finish strong, coming in 51st overall with a time of 30:23.4. He increased his 10K time from the NCAA Regionals by 20 seconds.
Junior Rory Tunningley had the third best time for the Longhorns, running a 30:48.6 for 104th overall. The final scorer for Texas was senior Brock Simmons with a time of 31:08.0 for 141st overall. Also running for the Longhorns were Patrick McGregor (167th) and Collin Smith (169th).
"We set some high goals at the beginning of the season for our program that we met today," said head coach Bubba Thornton. "It is a good start to the year and Coach Hayes has done a great job with this group of young men. We will now go home and enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday before we get ready for the indoor season."
Wisconsin captured the NCAA Team Championship. The race was held at the Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. and was hosted by Indiana State University.