Horns happy with fifth-place finish at Pre-Nationals

Jori Epstein

Sprinting across a national stage this weekend, Texas finished fifth at the Pre-Nationals Invitational on Saturday morning. The field of 39 was strong and the fifth place finish should reflect that.

Junior Sara Sutherland led her teammates in the 6k, at ninth overall in 20:10.7. Classmate Marielle Hall followed seconds later in 16th at 20:19.8. Juniors Megan Siebert and seniors Anne Jones and Laleh Mojtabaeezamani soon enhanced the Texas pride finishing 47th, 53rd and 59th respectively within 21:07.9.

“Our top five ran about as good a race as we could, given some challenges we have faced this year, so I was happy,” assistant coach Stephen Sisson said.

Texas’ competitors included eight nationally-ranked teams, four of them in the USTFCCCA top-10. Its 184 points fell short of No.1-ranked Florida State (72), No. 4 Oregon (87), No. 8 Michigan (141) and No. 6 Georgetown (163). Yet this unranked team surpassed No. 17 William & Mary and No. 18 Colorado.

“We were happy, because I was hoping to crack the top five but didn’t know if we would,” Sisson said. “Our main goal going in was to be sure we ran what we were capable of that day, definitely nothing less than what we were capable of.”

Jenna Read guided Longhorn “Black” unseeded racers finishing 33rd at 22:04.4. Freshman Kendall Howen trekked close behind at 22:17.8 in 52nd.

The Longhorns next compete Oct. 27 as they host the Big 12 Championships for the first time since 2003. The 6k race begins at 10 a.m. at Jimmy Clay Golf Course.