North Texas Daily

Cross country season to begin with trip to TCU

Cross country season to begin with trip to TCU

September 02
21:38 2009

By Sean Gorman / Senior Staff Writer –

The UNT men’s and women’s cross-country teams begin their seasons this Saturday as they compete in the Texas Christian University Invitational Meet in Fort Worth.

During a home meet last fall, Amanda Kean, a senior cross-country runner, finished 16th place with a time of 12:32. (Photo by Christena Dowsett / Photo Editor)

During a home meet last fall, Amanda Kean, a senior cross-country runner, finished 16th place with a time of 12:32. (Photo by Christena Dowsett / Photo Editor)

The team heads to the Lowdon Track and Field Complex with high hopes after finishing in fourth place last year at the Sun Belt Conference Meet.

“One of our main goals coming into this year is to improve upon last season’s performance by placing in the top three at the conference tournament,” said Tara Piles, a materials science and engineering junior.

Although no specific team goals are set for the invitational, the Mean Green expects to do well.

“We don’t necessarily have short-term goals in mind for the tournament itself, but of course we want to run well and succeed,” head coach Robert Vaughan said. “Our overall focus is on the conference tournament but running well early in the season can help build the momentum you need to win at that level.”

Patrick Strong, a geography junior, looks to lead the way for the men’s team after a sophomore campaign where he placed third at the Conference Tournament in the 8K race and 20th at the Central Regional Meet in the 10K.

“With the talent we’re bringing back from last year, there’s no reason we can’t do just as well this year and we hope to get even better,” said Josue Nunez, a kinesiology senior.

Injuries have been a problem for the Mean Green, as the men’s team has only five runners healthy enough to compete.

“The one thing we do have an issue with right now is our depth,” Vaughan said. “We have some good runners but in order to win you need to have a full and complete team from top to bottom.”

With 11 runners on the roster, members of the women’s team hope that depth and the running of sophomore business major Sara Dietz will help the Mean Green place high at the invitational.

Dietz was named Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year and represented UNT at the 2009 USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships over the summer.

“It’s great that we have 11 runners to work with because we know there’s going to be a time when not everyone on the team is at one hundred percent,” Piles said. “If we can push each other hard enough we could do very well this year.”

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