Women’s cross country start off on the right foot

Matt Warden

If you started your weekend with a walk through downtown Austin, you probably encountered the Longhorns running away from the competition.

The women’s track and field squad got the season unofficially started with a heated race against the UTSA Roadrunners. The Longhorns recorded a respectable 34 team points, but UTSA won the dual meet.

Saturday’s exhibition meet served as a showcase for the Longhorns’ younger runners. Top runners were held out of the race, but the squad was still able to show future talent while gaining quality experience for the newcomers.

“The freshman group coming in, at this point and time, is better than any freshman group I’ve ever had at The University of Texas,” assistant coach Stephen Sisson said. “We did a good job of recruiting last year.”

Redshirt freshmen Alaina Perez and Marissa Lee looked impressive, each finishing in the top 10 of the meet. Redshirt freshman Marissa Pekarek was the fifth member of the Longhorns to score points for the team, finishing 12th.

The team was powered by senior Anne Jones, who placed first among all runners. Junior Melissa Mahoney joined her fellow upperclassman in totaling points for the team, as she finished 11th overall.

Sophomores Rachel Gutknecht and Jessica Clothier and redshirt freshman Colleen Murray also raced for the Longhorns. 

This race marked the first for Perez, Lee, Pekarek, Clothier and Murray in a Longhorn uniform.

“From a base level, a competitive attitude has to be inherent,” Sisson said. “If you don’t have the drive to win, you won’t be
successful at Texas.”

The Longhorns will look to officially get their season kicked off right Sept. 21 when they compete at the Los Angeles XC invite.