UT runs out of gas at NCAA Championship, falls short

Julie Thompson

The Longhorns finished 20th on Monday in their first NCAA Championship meet since 2003. Junior Mia Behm led the team, finishing 35th and earning all-American status.

“There were 31 teams and another 50-plus individuals,” said head coach Steve Sisson. “Every one of the people there belong on the starting line.”

The women were coming off a strong win at the South Central Region meet in Waco on Nov. 13. The NCAA Championship meet took place in Terre Haute, Ind., where the women raced for ISU pre-nationals on Oct. 16.

The preparation and overall fitness helped prime the team for the competitive nature of the NCAA Championship meet. Still, not all of the team was able to fully perform at the competitive stage.

“We got ourselves fit enough that even when we have a disappointing day, we are still competitive,” Sisson said. “In the middle of the race, you have to keep your head about you and pick people off. Megan and Mia were able to do so but the rest of the girls had difficulty moving up the field.”

The warm conditions in Terre Haute worked in the team’s favor, but the windy weather and high density of competitors in the race slowed down the runners.

Overall, Sisson was happy with his team’s effort and excited for Behm’s success.

“We are real proud to be a top-20 team in the country, and we are extremely proud of Mia being an all-American,” he said.

The NCAA Championship marks the end of a season-long goal to prove the Longhorns’ talent and worth.

“We are more of a track team than a cross country team, but I am happy with what we accomplished,” Sisson said. “We took the first step in being on the national stage.”

Much of the team’s success in the 2010 season can be credited to Sisson’s solid coaching, leading to a talented young team with determination that runs deep.

“For me, I think the biggest thing is we made it to the national championships and got a feel for it with a very young team,” Sisson said. “The key now is to take this and turn it into something better.”