Despite disappointing team scores, the newcomers of the University of Dallas men’s and women’s cross-country teams put up strong performances in the first championship meet of the season.
At the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) championship this past weekend, the men’s team came up short of their goals and finished fifth overall.
“We didn’t have our best day,” head coach Matthew Barber said. “Which is a shame after so much growth and success over the course of the season.”
Although everyone was disappointed with the team scoring, sophomore Thomas Hogan continued to impress by leading the team with a time of 27:12.53. His 11th place finish added All-SCAC second team honors to Hogan’s list of SCAC accomplishments.
Nevertheless, Hogan saw room for improvement, as he started the race right on pace but ultimately fell short of his goals.
“I’ll admit, I was pretty nervous in the week leading up to the race,” Hogan said. “I have competed in several high school championship meets, but this was my first one in college … I was hoping to be in the top seven and to finish under 27 minutes, neither of which I did. On the whole, though, I think I raced well.”
Freshman John James also cracked the top 20 with a time of 28:08.29, but he just narrowly missed All-SCAC honors by two places.
On the women’s side, there was a bit more drama in the point tallying. The women’s team tied Texas Lutheran University (TLU) for third place yet ultimately lost due to the NCAA tiebreak rules.
Barber explained these rules.
“If after five runners, each team has the same score total, they will have the first place finishers, second place finishers, all the way down through fifth place finishers go head to head, and whichever team won the majority of those matchups is the victor,” Barber said.
Although it seems like a fair rule, both Barber and the team walked away disgruntled.
The Lady Crusaders strategy placed responsibility on the third and fourth runners, senior captain Joey Danaher and junior Emily Cosgray, to beat TLU’s third and fourth runners. After huge personal records, Danaher and Cosgray were able to beat TLU’s third and fourth runners, but with the NCAA rule, it was not enough.
“Our sixth runner, Mary Korth, beat their sixth runner and our top five averaged a faster time than TLU’s did,” Barber said.
Despite the disappointment, Barber and the team are already moving on and thinking about their next championship race.
“We put ourselves in a position to get third and barely missed it,” Barber said. “Instead of wondering ‘what if?’ we will channel our energy into [the United States Collegiate Athletic Association championships] in two weeks.”
Barber was not the only optimist on the team. Hogan was especially excited for the remaining championship meets.
“I think we have the potential to run some faster times and to work together more,” Hogan said. “Personally, I want to have more consistent splits in the second half of the race. I hope we can enjoy running together as a team for these two last weeks of our season.”