UTSA cross country starts on high note

Men finish sixth/women finish second

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

After the disappointing ending to the ‘Runners’ season a year ago, UTSA came out in the UIW Twilight Invitational looking completely different. On Friday, Sept. 2, the cross-country team ran the same course they did a year ago. In the seven-team field, the women finished second and in the nine-team field, the men finished sixth. Last year, both teams were sixth but in just a seven-team field. 

From the start, the women came out aggressive. Captain and fifth-year senior Abby Balli was immediately in the top five with graduate transfer Madison Henry, junior Chante Dixon and freshman Savanah Lopez closing out the top 20. The race was just 4,000 meters, so the women had to move quickly. The Lady ‘Runners ran seven runners with a team average time of 15:11, placing them second in the meet.  

Balli finished second overall with a time of 14:36, behind her was Henry with a 14:54, Dixon with a 15:14, Lopez with a 15:25 and sophomore Brooke Veltman rounding out the top five with a 15:46, respectively. One year ago, the women’s team had a team average time of 16:18.  

The men started right after the women finished, this time running 6,000 meters. The men did not race everyone, keeping their top six runners on the sidelines. However, the Roadrunners got to show their new increased depth on the team and give head coach Dave Hartman some thought on who the seventh man will be. Starting off towards the middle, the men stayed in a pack, running closely together throughout the race. For three of the five ‘Runners, it was their first UTSA cross-country race, deeming this meet a learning experience. The men finished sixth in the nine-team field with a team average of 20:05, nearly matching last year’s 20:04.  

It is a great sign when the ‘Runners seventh through 11th men matched UTSA’s top six last year, and it is still very early in the season. Junior Idol Ramon finished first for UTSA and placed 17th overall with a time of 19:23, followed closely by junior Michael Paredes at 19th place with a 19:26. Freshman Landon Blankenship was third for the men with a 19:56, then freshman Dominick Landin with a 20:40 and freshman Gabe Hernandez rounding out the fifth spot with a 21:03.  

In just two weeks from the UIW Twilight Invitational, the Roadrunners will travel to College Station for the Texas A&M Invitational on Friday, Sept. 16.