The Longhorns’ season came to an end on Saturday after a 30th-place finish at the NCAA Division 1 Cross County Championship in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Texas was in the top 10 at the 5,000-meter mark but fell short in the second half of the race. The Longhorns fell from eighth to 30th despite having the tightest spread of the competition with only a 17-second gap between five runners.
Although the finish was not as high as desired, it was a slight improvement from last year’s 31st-place finish, especially for such a young squad.
“We got out really well, it just got away from us,” assistant coach Brad Herbster said. “With the group we have and the group coming in, it will be a very good group for years.”
Herbster said the key to being in contention for a top-10 finish is having someone to take the role of a low stick — a fast runner up front. Freshman Spencer Dodds proved he is capable of holding that position in the future.
Dodds, who excelled at the Texas and Notre Dame invitationals earlier in the season, led the team for most of the race.
Senior Robert Uhr was the only Longhorn to surpass him, crossing the finish line just a second ahead. The pair came in at 166th and 167th.
“Spencer did a really nice job of competing all the way through the entire race,” Herbster said. “For him to step in was impressive for a freshman.”
As the Longhorns prepare for the upcoming track and field season, they’ll look for ways to improve for next year’s cross country season. And while this year’s performance at the NCAA Championship didn’t produce the result they expected, Herbster believes the team can take a leap and contend for a championship next fall.
“It’s not like we’re that far off,” Herbster said. “We’re really close. We just need to tweak a couple things here and there.”