Longhorns look to gauge their progress at Penn State Invitational

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Sophomore Alex Rogers has been one of Texas’ top runners this season. He’s hoping to earn a top-five finish in Pennsylvania before Big 12 Championship. Texas looks to win big in final meet before
Photo Credit: Zoe Fu | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns departed Austin on Wednesday to travel to University Park, Pennsylvania, for the Penn State Open. Several Big 12 teams, including Oklahoma State and West Virginia, will accompany Texas at the Blue and White Golf Course for the race.

The meet stands as the Longhorns’ last chance to prepare for the Big 12 Championship in Lubbock at the end of this month. But sophomore Alex Rogers said he tries not to look too far ahead. 

“I can feel the weight of the Big 12 Championship in my hand,” Rogers said. “But first we have to go out and do the best we can at Penn State and take out OSU. The way I see it, they are the sheep and we are the lion.” 

Oklahoma State’s men’s team currently ranks No. 9 in the nation, while the women’s squad ranks No. 14. Going up against the Cowboys this weekend will give Texas an early indicator of where its teams stack up against the Big 12’s elite.

“It’ll be a good reflection of the conference,” coach Brad Herbster said. “Because there’s some really good teams. The biggest thing is regrouping from Notre Dame and understanding.” 

The Longhorns enter Pennsylvania coming off a tough meet at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 30.The women finished No. 16 and had to compete without senior Sandie Raines, who was recovering from pneumonia. 

“It was a blessing in disguise,” Raines said. “It helped me increase my training, and it motivated me for the rest of the season. I am ready to
compete again.”     

On the men’s side, Rogers finished No. 19 in the individual five-mile run. His time of 24:07.2 was just over 10 seconds off of his goal of a top-10 finish.     

“I’ve built my confidence since then,” Rogers said. “I’ll make a run for a top-five finish this time.”    

The women’s 6,000-meter run is set to begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by the men’s 5.2-mile run at 11:15 a.m.