Last Friday, Sept. 20, the men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the University of Texas-San Antonio Ricardo Romo Classic at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio. Despite rainy conditions, both men’s and women’s teams completed the five-kilometer distance.
“The times were slower, but that’s to be expected with heavy rains and a muddy course, but I think that the team benefited from running in non-ideal conditions,” said assistant coach Emily Daum. “A championship race could be in just as bad weather conditions, so Friday gave them a chance to see how they handled themselves when the course and racing conditions aren’t ideal. They’ll be even more prepared if the weather and course are unfavorable for future meets.”
With the top seven runners on both the men’s and women’s teams vying for a spot on the regional and national teams, it makes sense that there would be competition between teammates. However, this meet was unique in that the University of Texas were also competing.
“We frequently compete against Division I competition at many of our races (including our home meets). There are more Division I and Division II teams in Texas than Division III, so, when a meet is put on, it’s more likely that we’ll compete against Division I competition. It’s not an uncommon occurrence. I believe this is one of the great things about cross country and track. We are one of the few sports that gets to compete against the best competition around throughout the regular season,” said Daum. “Also, the host school for the meet, the University of Texas-San Antonio, is Division I, so it’s really no surprise that other Division I schools were there. Knowing that the team was going up against great competition just excites our athletes. They know the tougher the competition, the better, because it gets them ready for Regionals and Nationals where there are going to be fast runners, just like us.”
Despite the weather and competition, many Trinity runners stepped up to the plate. Sophomore Taylor Piske placed second among non-Division I men’s runners, while sophomore Chris Soto placed fifth. Senior Maddie Murphy won the individual championship among non- Division I women’s entries, clocking in at 18 minutes 31.3 seconds. Soto and Murphy did well enough to be named SCAC Runners of the Week.
“I think we’re right where we need to be,” said Soto. “We graduated four seniors last year, but this year we have five guys that are running closer together than last year’s team. I’d argue we’re better this year. Granted, we’re not at 100 percent. We’ve had a few guys battle some nagging injuries this summer and this season, but they’re attacking their injuries just as they would their races, so I’m confident they’ll be back in no time.”
As a team, the Tigers took both the men’s and women’s team titles for non-Division I schools.
“Overall I think everyone was happy with how they did and we’re ready to get in to some heavier competition in the coming month,” first year Natalie Belew said.
The Trinity teams will be hosting the Alamo City Duels on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Olmos Basin Fields. This will be a 6K race for the women and an 8K race for the men. The team’s ultimate goal is to qualify for the NCAA Championships on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Hanover, Ind.