NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- The Texas Lutheran Men's and Women's Cross Country teams each will send scoring teams of five members to Newport News, Va. for the 2017 NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional Cross Country Championships.
The championships are hosted by Christopher Newport University at the Lee Hall Mansion Cross Country Course. The course is located in Newport News.
The TLU squads each are coming off of third-place finishes at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships. Both teams are looking to carry the momentum from the conference races into their final races of the season.
The men are looking to improve upon a 22nd-place finish in 2016 and to better the program-high finish of 21st, achieved in 2015.
In 2016, Cameron Reagan recorded a program-high 90th-place finish at the regional meet in the Bulldogs second-ever appearance. (TLU is in its fourth season of cross country overall.)
Reagan was followed by Donald Manuszewski, Rudolph Calderon, Blake Westbrook, and Mason Allenger. The four TLU runners recorded 111th, 128th, 151st and 192nd-place finishes, respectively.
The five traveling Bulldog men enter the meet on the heels of a conference meet in which all five recorded personal bests.
Manuszewski, who led the Bulldogs for the first time all season at the SCAC Championships, recorded a school-record 8K time of 26 minutes, 49 seconds and was followed closely by Caleb Calderon in 26:57. Rudolph Calderon and Westbrook also finished under the old school record, and Hector Hornedo recorded a personal-best by over a minute in his fourth-ever 8K race.
The five TLU men competing Saturday are: Manuszewski, Westbrook, Caleb Calderon, Rudolph Calderon and Hornedo.
The Bulldog women did not field a full-team in 2016 due to injury, but the team still saw a solid 59th-place performance from Sarah Fritzsche and a pack-performance from Breauna Gabriel, Ashley Rynard, and Ciara Rodriguez.
Rynard, Gabriel, and Rodriguez will be joined by Felicia Ortiz and Kylee Garcia on the course in Newport News. The Bulldog women will field their first team at Regionals since placing 13th in 2012.
The Bulldogs' best ever finish at regionals came in 2003 when they placed 10th. The highest individual finish by a Bulldog came in 2004 when Samara Williams posted a 14th-place finish.
Rynard led the Bulldogs once again at the conference meet and was followed closely by Gabriel and Ortiz. Garcia and Rodriguez rounded out the scoring for the Bulldogs as all five athletes recorded personal-bests.
With their SCAC Championship performance, Gabriel, Ortiz, and Garcia made their first appearances on the Bulldogs' all-time performance list - coming in at fourth, ninth and 14th, respectively. Rynard's time saw her solidify her standing as the second-fastest Bulldog 6K cross country runner of all-time.
(story by Blake Westbrook, TLU Sports Information & Sports Marketing intern)