Texas kicks off its postseason with the Big 12 Championship on Saturday at the Rawls Course in Lubbock.
The conference championship is the first of three postseason events the Longhorns have set their eyes on and arguably the most important.
“We want to bring home the triple crown, and it all starts with the Big 12,” cross country coach Brad Herbster said. “We want to step up and have the best showing.”
The Longhorns know they’re the underdog. But they are determined to surprise the doubters.
“We’ve had a lot of good guys come through, and they haven’t been able to get a team title,” senior Robert Uhr said. “It’s only been Oklahoma State and Colorado since the Big 12 was formed. It’s time to change that.”
Despite all that’s at stake, the Longhorns feel their countless hours of training and past meets will serve as good physical and mental preparation. Now the team hopes to capitalize on that preparation.
“It’s exciting,” redshirt senior Nate Moore said. “There is a little bit of pressure, but that’s something that comes with being at the University of Texas. There’s a lot of expectations because we are a great university and a great athletic program.”
Both sides are currently unranked but receiving votes after finishing fifth at the Penn State Open. They face off against several ranked conference teams this weekend, including No. 9 Oklahoma State on the men’s side and No. 12 Baylor on the women’s.
With a win, they hope to prove they are just as deserving of a place in the polls.
“It’ll be fierce competition,” senior Mary Beth Hamilton said. “But it’ll be competition we know we can go up against. Luckily, I have a great team, and I know we are about to have our best race yet.”
The women’s 6,000-meter race starts at 10 a.m., followed by the men’s 8,000-meter run at 11 a.m.