Longhorns must combat expectations as well as the field this weekend

Rachel Wenzlaff

Last season Texas finished with a NCAA Regional title and a respectable 11th-place finish at nationals. This season the team is ranked No. 6 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national poll. This season’s team has the potential to be the best it has ever been. Texas’ No. 6 position is the highest preseason ranking in program history in the national poll.

The members of the team have been working all preseason to become just that: a team. Despite cross country’s appearance as an individual sport, the team’s main focus has been supporting each other like a family.

“You’re only as good as the people around you,” head coach Bubba Thornton said.

The team members work almost every day to improve not only themselves but also the people around them.

For the team’s next meet Saturday at the Grass Routes Grand Prix in Austin and the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, KY, spectators and coaches expect great things out of UT’s top four returning runners from last season: Craig Lutz, Ryan Dohner, Rory Tunningley, Mark Pinales and standout transfer student, Kyle Merber. Although most of these standouts never touched the track during the season opener victory against UTSA, they’re anticipated to be big contributors Saturday. 

If the team can stick together and continue to progress at workouts, Texas could potentially see a NCAA national title in the near future.

The Longhorns will get started early, with the Greater Louisville Classic beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the Grass Routes Grand Prix beginning at 11:30 a.m.