The women’s cross country team placed third this weekend at the Red Raider Invitational in Lubbock, followed by the men’s team in seventh place out of 11 competitors.
ACU cross-country proved it could race with top Div. I competition during the meet when the women’s team finished behind Texas Tech and West Texas A&M in an impressive third place run.
Lead runner Victoria Gutierrez finished 10th out of 113 runners in the 5K race with a time of 21:22.24. Sophomore Alexandria Hackett, business major from Cranston, Rhode Island, and sophomore Diana Garcia-Munoz, accounting major from Phoenix, finished 11th and 13th, cementing the women’s third place spot overall.
“We did not change up any of our training methods, but we did try to rest a bit more so that we were fresh for the race,” Garcia-Munoz said. “My thought process was still the same as any other race.”
The women performed well with their teammates, contributing to their success and helping the team place high amidst top competition, despite the pressure of being at a Big 12 school.
The men’s team showcased its skills as well, placing seventh for the weekend in front of four other teams. Senior Daniel Block turned in another excellent performance, finishing his 8K 23rd overall with a time of 25:29.06 – more than three minutes faster than his result at the same meet last year.
“Bigger schools competing in a race doesn’t affect my thought process hardly at all,” said Taylor Ochs, junior chemistry major from Midland. “My intention going into each race is to run a personal best or finish as high as possible, no matter who is in the race.”
Though the men’s team was not thrilled with how it finished, it was still able to keep up with big teams early in the season, showing promise for future meets. Many improved their times and will continue to grow throughout the season. The Red Raiders facilitated a strong meet, showing the ‘Cats where they have room to improve.
The Wildcats will have a weekend off, but will travel in two weeks to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to compete in the Cowboy Jamboree conducted by Oklahoma State University. This meet will welcome an even stronger field of competition, but the Wildcats are ready to step up to the challenge.
“It doesn’t matter who we race,” Garcia-Munoz said. “We always race to the best of our abilities.”