Texas cross country showed minor signs of rust after its first competition in three weeks at the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Saturday.
The men’s team finished seventh, a decent showing among nine nationally ranked teams, but the women’s team still struggled to run as a unit, earning a 33rd-place team finish.
All-American senior Craig Lutz led the men once again, coming in 17th, followed by senior Mark Pinales, who finished 25th.
Assistant coach Brad Herbster said the difference between a good finish and a great one lies in the hands (or shoes) of the 3-4-5 runners.
“Seventh is still good, but it isn’t what we were looking for at this race,” Herbster said. “We’ve got to get our 3-4-5 up there because, with a difference in 10 seconds, you could pass 15 people. So 10 seconds here and 10 seconds there, it makes a big difference as a team score.”
Redshirt freshman Katie Ruhala and sophomore transfer Sandie Raines led the women, crossing the line at 73rd and 82nd, respectively.
“I thought Katie ran really well today, and Sandie competed really well,” Herbster said. “We just need to run better as a group, and I think we have that group. We see it in practice.”
The scoring struggles that have plagued Texas women’s soccer throughout the 2014 campaign struck again Friday as the Longhorns (7-6-2, 2-3-0 Big 12) dropped a 3-1 road contest at the hands of TCU (8-5-3, 1-2-3 Big 12).
Despite the unfavorable score, the Longhorns maintained a 27-to-11 advantage in shots over the Horned Frogs. But as has been the case recently, Texas struggled to capitalize on its opportunities.
Junior forward Kelsey Shimmick and freshman forward Olivia Brook both had chances on goal in the first half, but a save by a TCU defender and a last-second deflection by redshirt senior keeper Vittoria Arnold held the Longhorns scoreless through the first 45 minutes.
Junior forward Chantale Campbell’s goal in the 58th minute put the Longhorns in the scoring column, but, by that point, TCU already was sitting with a comfortable 3-1 lead, which it maintained through the rest of the game. TCU had not won a conference game before Friday.
The Longhorns will take a break from Big 12 play with a home matchup against Arkansas-Little Rock at 7 p.m. Monday. The Trojans boast a surprising 11-4-1 record on the season, and though their Sun Belt Conference schedule lacks the difficulty of of a typical Big 12 schedule, Texas lacks enough consistency to enter any game comfortably.