Men's Cross Country heads to NCAAs experienced and ready to compete
Nov. 21, 2010
Ryan Graney, Texas Media Relations
As the men's cross country team heads into its final race of the season at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., it brings with it an excited group of runners. Juniors Brian Rhodes-Devey, Brock Simmons, senior Bradley Lowry and sophomore Austin Roth were a part of UT's squad that made the trip last season. Their experience has been instrumental in preparing their teammates for the national championship race.
The Longhorns' experience combined with a handful of newcomers has put them in a position to build upon last season's success - something that the team set as a goal before the season began. Finishing tied for 28th place at the 2009 NCAA Championships, the team's older runners have lent some advice to the first-timers
"Those guys have been talking to us a lot trying to prepare us for the race," freshman Ryan Dohner said. "They've told us that a lot of teams are going to be running at different paces. We know we're going up against a lot of good teams. We aren't going to let that intimidate us though. We know what we can do. We just want to go out there and run our race."
Coming into the season, the Longhorns expected great contributions from their freshmen and younger runners. Going into the final race, the team's underclassmen have been an integral part of why the Longhorns have enjoyed success this season.
"Having the younger guys stepping up has been a huge benefit to our team," said Rhodes-Devey. "Their poise and maturity has been very impressive. They're here to give it their all for the program and do their best to represent the University of Texas. "
Dohner has been the team's top finisher in each of the three races in which he's participated. The Spring, Texas native remains confident and humble, despite his age.
"I try not to look at it like I'm a freshman," Dohner said. "I came in wanting to contribute to this team. The older guys on the team have done a great job leading us. I just want to contribute any way I can."
The freshman's contributions have been aided by strong depth throughout the team's roster. Despite losing the team's top runner from last season, this roster of Longhorns consists of more depth than in years past. This team understands that this depth has been a strong factor in this team's success.
"We've learned we have a lot of depth," sophomore Austin Roth said if this year's team. "We haven't raced a lot, but our top 10 guys at Princeton were faster than our first man was last year at that race. We know we've improved a lot."
This group of Longhorns is held together by a strong bond. The team prides itself on its unity and the closeness of its members. The Texas men ultimately are running for their each other and their university.
"Wearing that burnt orange gives you so much pride," Dohner said. "When you're at a race everyone watches you closely because you're Texas. People expect a lot out of you."
As the team prepares to put on the burnt orange one more time this fall, they have confidence in their training and ability. Dohner admits however, that in his first time at the NCAA Championships, he'll probably feel some butterflies on the starting line.
"I'll probably be a little nervous," Dohner admitted. "This is what we've been preparing for all year. We know we've done the training and now it's time to put it to work. If we run like we know we can then I think we can beat some people."