The men’s and women’s cross country teams both opened their seasons Friday, Sept. 29, at the Alamo City Opener in Live Oak City Park. The race was hosted by Trinity University, and both the men’s and women’s teams placed first among non-Division I schools.
“Our big thing was making sure they felt strong towards the end, and they passed as many people as possible towards the end,” said Emily Daum, head cross country coach.
The Trinity women had many first-year runners finish strong in their debut at the collegiate level. Melissa Whitman finished third among non-Division I schools and second from Trinity with a time of 15:40.11, while fellow first years Lexi Phelps (16:08.57) and Emma MacEachern (16:12.72) both finished in the top 10.
Other Tigers that finished in the top 10 were seniors Michelle Oberndorf—second among non-Division I schools (15:26.32)—as well as Nicola Hill (15:50.75) and junior Mariana Sigala (15:57.94).
“The Trinity girls…they’re all really supportive and we work together during our races,” Whitman said.
The time gap between the top five women was 40 seconds. “The closer teams are together up top, it usually bodes pretty well, so I was happy to see the gap was small from one to five,” Daum said.
The women finished second overall behind the University of the Incarnate Word with a combined time of 1:19:03.69. The women finished with six runners in the top 10 in the 4,000-meter race.
“This race showed us what we need to work on and it was a good first step in the right direction,” Whitman said.
For the men’s team, junior Taylor Pinske finished second overall and first among non-Division I runners with a time of 19:11.43. Sophomore Austin Brown finished second (20:07.99), while fellow Tigers Chris Soto (20:51.19), Evan Epps (21:05.57), Michael Erickson (21:12.39), Daniel Henkes (21:42.95) and Jacob Hammond (21:48.9) all finished within the top 10.
“I’m proud of every teammate—no one gave up on the course—everyone ran their heart out,” Brown said.
Trinity’s men’s team finished fourth overall in the 6,000-meter race with a combined time of 1:42:28.57.
“I was pretty happy with the men’s team, they beat out all the non-Division I schools,” Daum said.
The Tigers will have three weeks to train before their next meet. “Knowing our coaches and how they are going to be training us, I think everyone will improve,” Brown said.
“We’re going to work hard on our hard days…and see where that gets us,” Whitman said.
Their next meet will be 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, at the UTSA Ricardo Romo classic, where both the men and women will run a 5k.