Brad Herbster

Men's cross country

Texas men’s cross country closed its season with a No. 26 finish at the NCAA Championships this Saturday in Terre Haute, Indiana. 

After securing one of just 31 spots at the championship, Texas struggled to run its best race.

All-American senior Craig Lutz fell around 4,000 meters into the race after getting bumped. Texas got caught behind the lead pack and struggled to gain any headway during the remainder of the competition.

“It was really disappointing [when] Lutz went down, but he got up and finished 51st,” said Brad Herbster, assistant coach for cross country/distance. “Was it what he wanted? No. But he didn’t quit. He very easily could have thrown in the towel and just said, ‘It’s not my day,’ but he kept fighting..”

Colorado won the men’s title, with Oklahoma State representing the Big 12 in ninth.

Regardless of the disappointing performance, Herbster said the race showed positive notes.

“They just kept fighting all the way through,” Herbster said. “Not a great performance, but they fought. That’s the one thing we can take away from this. They kept moving up, but it just wasn’t the Longhorns’ day today. We’re the No. 26 team in the country, but we’re a lot better than that.”

Men's swimming and diving

As the Texas Diving Invitational came to a close Saturday afternoon, the men’s swimming and diving team walked away with plenty to brag about.

On Thursday, the first day of the meet, the Big 12 Conference announced All-American sophomore Mark Anderson as the league’s Men’s Diver of the Week. Anderson, who received the title for the first time, lived up to the honor through the weekend competition.

Anderson was the only Longhorn competing in the platform event, and he was the only one Texas needed.

After the first round, Hawaii’s Amund Gismervik stood tall on the platform, boasting his lead in the event — but first place wasn’t his for long. Anderson climbed the stairs to the top of the platform and took his place for his second dive. Leaping off the concrete to perform his four-and-a-half somersaults almost flawlessly, Anderson garnered 77.7 points for the dive. Gismervik couldn’t do enough to catch up. Anderson finished with 441.75 points, securing victory in the event Saturday, the final day of the invitational.

While Anderson made a splash at the meet, junior Cory Bowersox and Gismervik competed in the invitational’s closest event, the 3-meter finals.

Gismervik took the lead halfway through the event, but Bowersox earned 91.2 points on a dive for a late spark to narrow Gismervik’s lead. Bowersox continued to gain ground, as the event came to a close, but his slow start came back to haunt him, as Gismervik won with 440.30 points — less than a point ahead of Bowersox’s 439.50.

Men’s diving will compete at the USA Diving Nationals next on Dec. 16.

Women's swimming and diving

Texas women’s swimming and diving swept the Texas Diving Invitational this past weekend at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center.

The Longhorns continued to win by large margins against strong teams, such as Cal and Arizona State, which were also present in every round of finals for the 3-meter, 1-meter and platform dives.

Senior All-American Emma Ivory-Ganja placed first in a 1-2 Texas finish Thursday in the 3-meter dive with 395.40 points — a new personal best. Junior Meghan Houston placed behind Ivory-Ganja by a 57.5-point difference.

On Friday, Houston was back on the board in the finals. After trailing for the first three rounds, she came in first with 304.25 points, a slim 6-point advantage over University of Houston’s Danielle Shedd’s 298.25 points. This was the closest event of the weekend, as the top-three 1-meter finalists all scored within 10 points of each other.

The final day of diving resulted in another 1-2 Texas win, wrapping up the invitational with three straight victories for the Longhorns. Sophomore All-American Murphy Bromburg gained a large margin over competitors with her third, fourth and fifth dives, earning 80-plus points each. Bromburg stole the platform with 360.70 points, a 50.20 lead over second place winner Ivory-Ganja.

Ivory-Ganja earned honors as Big 12 Diver of the Week this past Thursday.

The diving season will continue Dec. 16-21 at the USA Diving Winter Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.

Cross country

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.”

Women's soccer

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.

Texas will end its three-week hiatus this weekend in San Antonio, returning to the UTSA Ricardo Romo Classic after flattening the competition last season.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will be putting their best runners in, with senior All-American Craig Lutz returning for the No. 23 men’s team and sophomore Arkansas transfer Sandie Raines looking to start her career on the right foot for the women after sitting the first meet out.

Assistant coach Brad Herbster is making sure his runners see this meet as an important stepping stone to future competition.

“With this UTSA meet, we are going to try to do our own thing and focus on what we want to accomplish down the road,” Herbster said. “We’re not going to set the world afire this week, but we will work on a few things and focus on improving for our big races later in the season. … The next race is where we really want to make a statement.”

This 5,000-meter race comes as preparation for some of the largest races of the season, like the Roy Griak Invitational, which will be hosted in Minnesota next weekend.

That invitational promises huge competition for the Longhorns, bringing in some of the strongest national teams in both the college and high school ranks.

Before that, though, the first step is down in San Antonio, and Texas wants to win. 

“Because the men are ranked 23rd in the nation, we want to make some kind of statement this week,” Herbster said.

The Longhorn cross country team kicked off its season Friday night at the Bear Twilight Invitational, where the men’s and women’s teams finished in fourth place.

Texas assistant coach Brad Herbster held his best runners out of Friday’s event to give younger runners a chance to compete. Herbster said a good amount of the team has the chance to add depth to the competition roster.

“We had some decent individual performances,” Herbster said. “I wanted to see what our top three would be in this race and see how they react so we can get ready for the season. I wanted to evaluate our top three men and women from this race and if we might be able to count on them as part of our top seven come November.”

Freshman Robert Uhr was the men’s top performer, finishing in third place. Junior Brady Turnbull finished sixth, while redshirt senior Eduardo Rodriguez placed 11th.

On the women’s side, redshirt freshman Katie Ruhala recorded a 14th place performance. Redshirt freshman Hannah Grubb finished 16th and freshman Jessica Ellis placed 17th.

Texas returns to action Sept. 19 at the UTSA Ricardo Romo Classic.

George Dohner ran long distance at Stephen F. Austin University, and he had a vision for his lanky son in sixth grade; he wanted Ryan to run track. It’s not the ideal sport for any sixth grader, but Ryan loved the early mornings and long runs, joining the school team in middle school. Now, an All-American at UT, Dohner looks back at those times with fondness. He knows he wouldn’t be in the place he is without his dad. 

“My dad was very encouraging,” Dohner said. “He’s always been my number one fan.”

Dohner made his dad proud. During his four years at Texas, Dohner earned four All-American honors in track, four cross country All-American honors and was selected as an All-Big 12 cross country runner twice. He’s been imperative to the success of the cross country program. 

“Ryan has been a quiet leader and a person that people listen to and respect a great deal,” assistant cross country coach Brad Herbster said. “Dohner has been improving steadily throughout the season and is looking to have his best performance of the year at the biggest meet of the season, the NCAA Championships.”

As a senior, Dohner admits he’s disappointed by his final season. The team struggled at times but is slowly improving.

The Longhorns’ struggles include dealing with critical fans and opponents. Dohner said he’s seen negativity on message boards and social media, but his goal for the NCAA Championships is to prove those people wrong.

“We’ve had an up and down season. A mediocre season,” Dohner said. “Nationals is the only race that matters. With the guys we have, we can surprise a lot of people and just come out knowing we gave it everything.”

The NCAA Championships will be Dohner’s final cross country event, and his last opportunity to change this season’s script.

“I feel he is primed and ready to have a big day at NCAA’s,” Herbster said. “NCAA’s will be equally as important to work together and deliver a performance that can send Ryan into the indoor track season with great confidence.”

Senior Marielle Hall added another first-place finish to her collection this weekend at the 2013 South Central Regional, defending her individual title from 2012. 

“Marielle stepped it up again today,” assistant coach Brad Herbster said. “She’s really buying into the idea that she’s one of the best in the country.” 

From the crack of the starting pistol to the end of the race, Hall sustained a comfortable lead, finishing in 19:40.7, 24 seconds ahead of the next closest runner. 

“It’s exciting to see a girl like Marielle, who works so hard, be able to win these races,” Herbster said. “Marielle does everything by the book. She’s consistent, and consistency in this sport is king, and she really proved her confidence today.”

The next Texas runner to cross the line was senior Megan Siebert, who finished in 15th place.

The rest of the women’s team did not fare so well, finishing in fourth place overall and failing to qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will take place in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Eric Park | Daily Texan Staff

Months of waking up before dawn and long practices are about to pay off for the men’s cross country team. 

Texas is entering the most important part of its year — championship season. The men will participate in the Big 12 Cross Country Championships, the first step to reaching the
NCAA South Regionals and the NCAA National Championship. 

The Longhorns had early season success, finishing second at the Baylor Invitational and winning both the Ricardo Romo Classic and the Texas Invitational. But Texas struggled at the Wisconsin Invitational, finishing 18th out of 36 teams. 

Head coach Brad Herbster blamed the struggles at Wisconsin to a lack of consistency. The team was not able to stay together in a pack, which caused the disappointing finish.

But the team realizes it still has an opportunity to accomplish its goals. This season, Texas has changed its focus from individual success to team success.

“When you start throwing more elements into the team there are sacrifices made, meaning extra hours of training,” junior All-American Craig Lutz said. “[Are these sacrifices] worth winning a national title? Most would say yes. Most people want to feel that. Winning nationals would definitely be an even better experience.”

Texas features seasoned runners such as Lutz, senior All-American Ryan Dohner, senior Austin Roth and junior Mark Pinales. Texas will rely on Lutz and Dohner to help them advance further into the championship season. 

“We’re trying to be national champions,” Lutz said. “I feel like I’m at the national level to help us get points for the team.” 

Helping Texas advance to the round will be a big accomplishment for Lutz after struggling down the stretch with injuries last season. For the team’s six seniors, this will be their last opportunity to get to nationals and bring Texas its first cross country national championship. 

“This year is [our] last year here,” Roth said. “We have a really solid team this year. We want to get the most out of the last chance [we] have. For us, we put in all this work to win
a championship.”

Standing in Texas’ way are talented Big 12 foes from the Longhorns’ border rivals to the North. 

“Our men’s team will be in a good battle with Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, both teams currently ranked ahead of us on the national poll,” Herbster said. 

Herbster expects Texas to rebound from their disappointing performance at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational. 

“We did not do a good job of packing it in at Wisconsin,” Herbster said. “That is the focus at Big 12 [schools]. Be where you need to be when you need to be there.”

The Big 12 Championship is in Waco on Nov. 2. 

The No. 15 men’s cross country team had no trouble Friday night picking up where they left off.

Texas rolled to their second victory of the season in the Texas Invitational in Round Rock, accumulating a total of 15 points. 

Junior All-American Craig Lutz started off strong in his first meet of the season and outran the competition with a time of 24:02 in the 8,000-meter race. 

“Craig really stepped up today,” head coach Brad Herbster said. “He ran by himself for most of the race, but he handled it effectively. He really managed the race well and looked strong finishing up.”

Texas runners Mark Pinales and Eduardo Rodriguez finished second and third respectively. 

“Mark Pinales had a nice race and Eduardo Rodriguez really stepped up to help us out in that third spot,” Herbster said.

Texas’ next meet will be at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 19.