Cross country set to kick off season at Stephen F. Austin Invitational

Sydney Rubin

Cross country is ready to lace up their spikes and hit the trails. 

Both the men’s and women’s teams are set to kick off their seasons this weekend in Nacogdoches, Texas, at the Stephen F. Austin Invitational. The women’s two-mile race is set to start at 7 p.m. at Pecan Acres Park, and the men’s 5-kilometer race will follow at 7:30 p.m.

After signing impressive classes, both teams are ready to debut rosters filled with talented newcomers and poised returners. Cross country assistant coach Brad Herbster said he’s ready to let the youngsters get their feet wet right off the bat and is confident they’ll make an immediate impact for the program.

Of the seven runners competing for the women this weekend, four are true freshman. On the men’s side, several newcomers will get the chance to make their collegiate debuts as well.

“The freshmen have done a great job so far of moving in and meshing well with the rest of the team,” Herbster said. “From a depth standpoint they really help out, and I’m excited to see where they fall on the team as the season goes on.”  

Herbster is also impressed with the improvements his returners have made since last season and said he thinks both teams are in positions to have better success this year.

“Overall, people have just stepped up over the summer and trained well,” Herbster said. “It’s a pretty talented group, and it’s exciting to see a team really turn the corner.”

The fourth-year assistant coach said sporting confidence and maintaining positive attitudes will be crucial factors for the Longhorns’ success this season.

“The biggest thing is just every day we’ve got to really have that championship feeling,” Herbster said. “We have to know that we’ve got a shot to win the Big 12 championship on both the men’s and women’s sides. I think this is a group that can step up and really make a run.”