The Texas cross country team opened the season Saturday in sweep style, as both the men’s and women’s teams took first place in team titles in the 8k and 6k at the Arturo Barrios Invitational.
The men’s team finished with 18 team points and a collective time of 2:00:07. Texas outscored the second-place team, LSU, by 48 points and the last place team, TCU, by 195 points.
Texas maintained consistent speed throughout the race. At the 2000-meter split, the Longhorns held the second through sixth spots, but by the 4500-meter split, held spots one through six. By the 7400-meter split, LSU had cut in at fourth and seventh.
Men’s coach Pete Watson said fall training has gone well leading up to this meet.
“The guys came out and executed well today,” Watson said. “That was very good to see from them as they continue to build confidence.”
Texas dominated the individual results, placing five athletes in the top 10. Sophomore Haftu Knight and freshman Abraham Avila-Martinez took the top two spots. Knight finished in first place and took home his second career win with a time of 23:52.1. Avila-Martinez made his Texas debut with a time of 23:58.0.
Eight out of the 12 entries who raced for the men’s team were freshmen. Five of those freshmen finished in the top 14.
“Our young guys were great,” Watson said. “What I really like about this group is that from day one through today, they’ve followed direction and instruction very well.”
The women’s team competed in similar fashion and finished the course with a cumulative time of 1:14:10 and 23 team points. LSU followed the team with 52 team points.
Women’s coach PattiSue Plumer said she was happy with the team’s performance.
“I think today’s race was great and certainly helped build our confidence,” Plumer said. “I was a little nervous going in because I've never been a part of a season with so little racing.”
Texas occupied four of the top six spots by the end of the course. Sophomore Beth Ramos held first place throughout the whole race and finished with a time of 20:23.8 that secured her first-career win.
Senior Madeline Vondra closely followed Ramos and took over second by the 4100-meter split. Vondra finished with a time of 20:34.6. LSU was the separating factor from securing the top five individual placements for Texas.
“Beth and Maddie had the best races of their careers today,” Plumer said. “(Beth) was very focused, knew what she wanted to do and just did it.”
Texas will conclude the cross country season at the Big 12 Championships Oct. 30 in Lawrence, Kansas.