Longhorns gearing up for Roadrunners

Lauren Giudice

Texas is competing in what is arguably the most difficult cross country conferences in the country. The Longhorns, ranked preseason No. 6, will begin the season this weekend when they take on UTSA at Auditorium Shores.

Conference foes No. 2 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Oklahoma will pose threats to the Longhorns’ goal of becoming a conference-winning team.

Texas is hoping to start its season off right.

“We won’t be satisfied until we win the Big 12,” said assistant coach John Hayes. “It is a brutal conference competitively, but it makes it more fun in October when we compete in the conference championships.”

Last season, the Longhorns came in 11th at the NCAA Championships. This year, they are looking to finish even higher.

Sophomore Craig Lutz, who led the team last season as a freshman, returns this season and looks to make even more of an impact. He came in 33rd overall at the NCAA Championships.

In addition, Mark Pinales, who was also a freshman last year, will be back this weekend to help the Longhorns as they hope to begin the season with a victory over the Roadrunners.

“Quite honestly, our goal is to finish higher than what that ranking is. If we finish there, it certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing. But we are looking to do a little better than that,” Hayes said.

Junior Ryan Dohner and senior Rory Tunningley are also returning to the lineup.

“It is great to be ranked in August, but at the end of the day, the national championship is in November and you have to stay healthy over the next three months to be successful,” Hayes said.