Women's Cross Country places 10th at Big 12 Championships
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The University of Texas women's cross country team finished 10th at the Big 12 Cross Country Championships on Friday, Oct. 27, 2006 at Rim Rock Farm, in Lawrence, Kansas.
The Longhorns tallied 280 points to finish in the top 10 in a meet for the fourth time this season. In the first three races of the 2006 campaign, UT won a team title (Texas State Invitational), placed second (Islander Splash) and picked up third at the Texas A&M Invitational. Texas is also growing on the regional front as the Longhorns have finished in the top 12 in two highly competitive races featuring at least three nationally ranked teams.
"Both the men's and the women's fields are tough," said first-year assistant track and field/cross country coach Steve Sisson, who works specifically with the distance program. "The density of the number of athletes that cross the finish line quickly is amazing because of how close together the timing is. The times were fast even though the course was slow and difficult. The weather was a bit of a factor because it was 44 degrees and wet with 30 mile per hour winds. One thing about this level of competition is that you have to be ready for the weather, if it comes into play. It was a tough environment for this group but a good learning experience."
Sophomore Arianna McKinney (Pine Hill, N.J.) put the Longhorns on the board, running 22:52.75 for 48th place and scoring 47 points. Senior Landra Stewardson (Detroit, Texas) was right behind her, clearing the 6,000-meter course in 23:08.81 for 5th place.
"Arianna is in the position where she knows that in order to compete at the next level (Big 12 and the NCAA Regionals), she needs to stick her nose in there and compete with the best," said Sisson. "Today, she didn't let the weather or the environment become a factor for her race. She adjusted to the cold and was in the front 15 runners through the opening mile of the race. She came out strong and competed very well. Once we have more time to build her strength, she will be a tremendous asset for this team."
Freshman Asia Myrland (Verona, Wisc.) placed third overall for Texas, which is her highest showing in her first year of collegiate competition. Myrland ran 23:17.87 for 59th place and 57 points.
"It's funny because Asia moved to Texas because she hates the cold weather but she's accustomed to it," said Sisson. "This was a course that was more to her liking because it was difficult. The more challenging the course the better she's able to compete and take advantage of that. She was ready psychologically to take on the course. I wouldn't say she surprised me but I'm sure it was a wake up to a few teams in the conference."
Fellow newcomer Betzy Jimenez (Hereford, Texas) was fourth for UT, clocking 23:28.34 and scoring 60 points towards the team total. Junior Mariya Townswick (Briarcliff, Texas) was the fifth scorer, running 23:31.60 and finishing in 66th place.
The Longhorns return to the course on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006, at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco, Texas.