Longhorn men clinch spot in NCAA Championships

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The Longhorn men’s cross country team breathed a sigh of relief on Friday as they advanced to the NCAA Championships for the eighth straight year. 

Thanks to an explosive performance from senior Nate Moore, the team finished the South Central Regional Championship in second place with 81 points.

Moore, who crossed the line of the men’s 10,000-meter run in fourth place, stuck with the lead pack from beginning to end. Coach Brad Herbster said the performance gave the team the necessary confidence to keep the eight-year streak alive.

“You don’t want to be the team that ends the streak,” Herbster said. “This year’s team with two freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and one senior is pretty well balanced. The future is really bright.”

However, the women’s team wasn’t so fortunate, finishing in fourth place with a total of 108 points. The Longhorn women fell short of an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships and haven’t collected enough votes from previous meets to qualify.

It was a bittersweet moment, especially for senior Sandie Raines, whose cross country career came to an end this weekend. Despite her 12th-place finish — short of an individual invite to the national championships — she earned all-region honors.

“Losing Sandie next year is a big loss,” Herbster said. “But I think we’ve got women to step up and fill that role.”  

Though the season is over for the women, the men remain excited for a shot at redemption. After finishing 31st in the 2015 NCAA Championships, they’re ready to prove they’re in a much better place.  

“Some things didn’t go our way [last year] like having to stay the night at the Atlanta International Airport,” Moore said. “We don’t want people thinking that South Central is a weak region. We are a serious team.”

The NCAA Championships begin Nov. 19 Terre Haute, Indiana.