UTSA finish with strongest conference showing in years

Men cross country team places fifth, women sixth in C-USA championship


Photo courtesy of Conference USA.

Madison Henry, Luzaan de Wilt and Abbygail Balli running as a pack.

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

After multiple seasons ending in disappointment, the UTSA cross country team placed sixth in the women’s race, followed by fifth in the men’s on Saturday, Oct. 29, in Denton, Texas. The men had a pair of top-20 finishes at the Conference USA championship, which featured Colton Stunkard and Jake Smith earning third-team all-conference honors. 

Stunkard has led the ‘Runners in every race he has run, and that was no different as he placed 15th with a time of 25:02.3 in the 8,000-meter race. Fifth-year senior Jake Smith was not far behind, finishing in 18th place and crossing the line at 25:19.1. The two led the men’s team to their best C-USA finish since 2011.

UIW transfer Spencer Herbstritt finished in 27th place with a time of 26:12.0. Idol Ramon was the fourth finisher for UTSA, crossing the line with a time of 26:34.8, placing him 33rd. Gabe Hernandez and Landon Blankenship finished 37th and 38th with times of 26:48.9 and 26:56.5, respectively. Harrison Wade was the seventh man for the Roadrunners, crossing in 41st place at 27:08.3. OJ Ruiz and Cade Cunningham were the final two ‘Runners to cross the finish line. Ruiz came through in 44th place in 27:21.2, while Cunningham was 53rd with a time of 28:18.9. 

Charlotte won the C-USA team title with just 31 points, while Nick Scudder led the 49ers with the individual title finishing the course in 23:58.5. UTEP finished in second place with 62 points, while Middle Tennessee came in third with 69 points. Rice was the fourth-place team, 14 points ahead of UTSA, scoring 121. 

The women also had their best finish since 2013 with the help of three top-30 performances. Luzaan de Wilt (27th), Madison Henry (28th) and Abbygail Balli (29th) finished 22:52.4, 22:56.9 and 22:57.6, respectively. This is the second race this trio has run together, which guided UTSA to sixth place. 

Chante Dixon was the fourth finisher for the ‘Runners, crossing the line at 23:30.0 and landing her in 41st place. Brooke Veltman finished in 46th place with a 23.41.8, while Savanah Lopez came in 49th place with a 23:58.5. Lilly Morill rounded out the lineup for the ‘Runners, coming in 58th place and running a 23:34.3 through 6,000-meters. 

Charlotte completed the sweep by also winning the women’s team title with 26 points. Middle Tennessee came in second with 54 points, while Rice finished with 79. FIU was in fourth place with 142 points, and UAB was just two points ahead of UTSA with 156, placing them fifth. Ruth Jerubet from UTEP won the individual title with a time of 20:42.9, while Charlotte had five runners in the top eight. 

UTSA will compete in the NCAA South Central Regional on Friday, Nov. 11, in College Station, Texas.