Cross country starts off season on the right foot

The Trinity cross country team kicked off their season this past weekend with the Trinity-hosted Alamo City opener, where they swept across the board with wins.

“Our second Annual Alamo City Opener was more competitive this year than last year. An additional Division I team, UTSA, brought their varsity runners to the meet. In addition, Texas Lutheran just joined our conference. It was a great way for us to compare ourselves against these quality teams,” said head cross country coach Derick Lawrence.

Senior Vanessa Moreno won the 4K women’s race with a time of 14 minutes, 33.41 seconds, while sophomore Taylor Piske took top honors in the men’s 6K event, clocking in at 19 minutes, 43.77 seconds. Both runners also beat the best times of the NCAA Division I competitors from UTSA and the University of the Incarnate Word.

Piske, who was honored to represent Trinity in the most recent meet, said that it is the thrill of victory that keeps him motivated throughout the season to continually push himself at practice and in competition.

“Every meet is an opportunity to win. It’s also an opportunity to fail. I guess it’s a combination of the fear of losing and the allure of the victory that keeps myself and the whole team from one day just stopping,” Piske said.

Senior Maddie Murphy was runner-up to Moreno in the women’s race, crossing the finish line at 14:37.53. Senior Rosemary Steup was third (14:48.45), senior Jackie Newell placed fourth (15:04.72), and junior Nicola Hill came in fifth place (15:15.67). Junior Michelle Oberndorf (15:21.12) and sophomore Jessica Pagano (15:23.48) finished in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

“The hardest part of the meet was the fact that is was our first race of the season. It was tough to dust some of the rust off and get into that competitive mindset. I think everyone did a really great job though and our desire to beat UTSA and UIW showed in our performance,” Newell said.

Senior Gerardo Hernandez finished second to Piske in the men’s race, posting a time of 19:57.92. First year Tristan Ashton was fourth (20:10.20), first year Austin Brown ran in sixth place (20:28.38), and first year Evan Epps was 10th (21:34.60).

The Tiger men and women won the non-Division I team titles. The University of the Incarnate Word won the women’s Division I nod, while UTSA took the men’s.

“One of our goals for the upcoming season is to improve upon last year’s national finish on the women’s side. We have a very strong team this year and the ladies are looking to make an impressive showing for themselves at the national level,” said assistant cross country coach Emily Daum. “On the men’s side we’ve got a stellar freshman class that is adding great depth to our already determined and hardworking varsity squad. Some of the goals for our men’s team will be looking at defending our SCAC title along with attaining a podium finish at the NCAA Regional Championships.”

Trinity will compete next at the Grass Routes Run Festival on Friday, Sept. 27 in Austin, Texas. The Tigers will host the Alamo City Duals on Saturday, Oct. 5, also at Olmos Basin.