Number 6 cross country team opens season on a high note in a close finish

Ryan Haddox

The No. 6 ranked Longhorns started their season Saturday in the wee hours of the morning, competing in a four-mile race with UTSA at Auditorium Shores.

There weren’t the usual faces competing for Texas as head coach Bubba Thornton elected to sit most of last season’s top returning runners. Instead, it was a group of standout freshmen that got the job done, led by Daniel Vertiz, Brady Turnbull and Nate Moore. They claimed the top three spots in the race and led the Longhorns to a narrow 29-30 victory.

Roadrunner Mike Medrano led the UTSA squad with a fourth place finish.

Sophomores CJ Jessett and Kyle Thompson, along with equally impressive freshmen David Anamosa and Shaun Van der Walt, turned in impressive finishes as well.

Texas went into the meet with lofty expectations and praise, and the Longhorns certainly looked the part of a team that has a conference championship at the top of its agenda.

The Big 12 is loaded in 2012, boasting the No. 2 team in the country, Oklahoma State, and the No. 4 team, Oklahoma.

While the Longhorns will have some serious work to do to claim the conference championship, Saturday proved to be a step in the right direction. Last year’s star freshman, Craig Lutz, who finished 33rd in the NCAA in 2011, Mark Pinales and the new crop of freshmen who led the Longhorns to victory over the weekend, appear ready to give the Big 12
a run for its money.

Texas is out of commission until Sept. 28, when it will compete in the Grass Routes Festival here in Austin, where it will look to build on this weekend’s performance.