The Mean Green men and women’s cross country team headed towards Fayetteville, Arkansas on Friday for the NCAA South Central Regional in Agri Park at the University of Arkansas. The women’s 6K race kicked off at 11 a.m. with the men’s 10K following theirs at noon.
The Mean Green didn’t make the finish they were hoping for at the Conference USA Championship two weeks ago where the men took sixth place and the women taking seventh. They’ll look to end a season full of injuries with successful showings in Fayetteville.
“On the men’s side, like it’s been all year it’s a very young group,” head coach Kevin Williams said. “Five of the seven people that we’re taking have never run 10K cross country before, so it’ll be a big test for them but will gain very valuable experience from this meet.”
A year ago, senior Florian Lussy placed third individually at the regional meet and made North Texas third NCAA Championship appearance led the North Texas men’s team. She placed eighth individually at the Conference USA Championship in concert with junior Matthew Morgan and sophomore Caleb Bouchard. They are also joined by freshmen Spencer Boykin, Mason Garner, Braden Lange and Riley Wood. North Texas had four athletes racing in the first collegiate 10K race of their careers with those players being Bouchard, Boykin, Garner, Lange and Wood.
“On the women’s side we have had great consistency in training over the last two weeks,” Williams said. “I don’t think we’ve had our best race of the season, yet which is exciting that we can continue to step up.”
Sophomore Aubrey Schmidt has been the first woman finisher for North Texas in every race this season with her most recent finish being 22nd at the Conference USA Championships.
Joining her on the course will be graduate student Baylee Nelson, seniors Darrian Johnson and Jennifer White along with junior Gwyneth Garcia, and freshmen Erika Barrett and Laurynn Hogan.
“I’m excited to see how this race helps us build for the future,” Williams said.
The North Texas men currently sit at No.11 in the South Central Region ranking while the women go into the meet unranked. Texas (No.1 in men and No.2 in women) and Arkansas (No.1 in women and No.2 in men) with the top-2 spots in both polls.
Featured Image: Graduate student Baylee Nelson, sophomore Gwyneth Garcia, sophomore Aubrey Schmidt and senior Jennifer White run a one kilometer loop at open practice on Sept. 27, 2019. Image by Jordan Collard