Texas falls short against ranked opponents in Pre-National Invitation

Tyler Horka

The Texas cross country team struggled at the Pre-National Invitational in Louisville, Kentucky, the first meet it faced other ranked opponents all season.

The men’s team, ranked No. 30 in the national poll, finished in 16th place, facing 10 other nationally ranked teams, including the defending two-time national champion Colorado Buffaloes.

Colorado ran the rest of the field off the trails yet again, defeating the second-place Oregon Ducks by 62 total points.

Arkansas, the only team ranked higher than Texas in the South Central Region, had a strong performance, finishing third overall.

Senior Brady Turnbull was the first Longhorn to finish the race for the second time this season, coming in the 53rd position.

Turnbull’s 8,000-meter time of 24:00.5 was just over 42 seconds off the pace of the overall winner Virginia Tech senior Thomas Curtin.

Following roughly 18 seconds behind Turnbull for Texas was a trio of Longhorns who all finished within one second of each other. Junior Nate Moore led the group at 24:18.7.

Head coach Brad Herbster said the men did not react well when the other teams started to make a move for the finish in the second half of the race.

“As we head into conference, we need to be more aggressive and decisive,” Herbster said.

The women struggled en route to a 40th overall finish in a meet that featured 45 teams.

The Michigan Wolverines beat out the Colorado women by 20 points for first place overall, but Colorado junior Erin Clark won the 6,000-meter race in a time of 20:00.5.

For Texas, junior Sandie Raines followed up her win in the Longhorn Invitational two weeks ago with another top-finisher performance for the Longhorns.

This week, however, Raines came in 80th place with a time of 21:01.5. The next Texas runner, senior Connor Ward, crossed the line in the 181st slot.

“These women are one of the best teams in the country,” Herbster said of his team. “But it doesn’t matter how we practice if we let the field size and other things that happen in the race distract us.”

The Longhorns will look to get back on track in Stillwater, Oklahoma. for the Big 12 Championships on Oct. 31.