Tarleton Cross Country finds success early in the season

By: Sydnie Grossnickle

Multimedia Journalist

Tarleton State University’s Cross Country team had a strong start to the season. The Texans have completed three meets so far. Here’s how they did. 

Runners started their season on a high note at Abilene Christian’s Naimadu Classic. Senior Kevin Baez finished first in the men’s 6K with 18:31.5. 

“He was buying his time and with about one loop to go he started to make his move and ran a guy down to take first,” head coach Chase Rathke said to Tarleton Sports. “I’m really excited for him and where he is headed this season.”

Baez finished ahead of student athletes from Texas Tech, Texas Christian University and event host ACU.

Angel Contreras and Jerryth Buckingham finished No. 11 and No. 18, respectively.

On the womens side, first-year runner Morgan Lamberson rose to the top of the Texan’s 4k participation, finishing at No. 20 with 15:24.5. 

The Texans took a different roster to the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) Invitational, with eight making their season debut. 

Georgina Balderas at the University of Texas Arlington Invitational.
Photo Courtesy: Tarleton Athletics

The mens team placed fourth in the 5K ahead of Dallas Baptist and sophomore Khristian Vastlik was the first Texan to finish placing No.18. 

The womens team finished at No. 6 in the 5K. Senior Vianney Sanchez was the top placing Texan coming in at No. 25. 

After a tough meet at UTA, the Texans were eager for their next event. 

All eyes went to the Tarleton Cross Country mens team after a No. 2 finish in the 8K at the Texas A&M Invitational. The men finished runner-up to Aggie hosts. 

“The guys second place finish was big,” Rathke said to Tarleton Sports. “Our goal setting out was to finish top two and we did just that.”

Baez had another great outing, placing fourth for the Texans behind three Aggies. Contreras was not far from Baez and crossed the finish line at No. 9. 

The women finished at No. 7 in the 5K. 

Lamberson was the top finisher at No. 28. Jenna Brazeal made her season debut, finishing at No. 35. 

“Things did not go our way, but it’s still early, and we will improve,” Rathke said to Tarleton Sports. “I want to see more aggressiveness at the beginning from them.” 

The Texans have a short break before heading to the Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Sept. 30. 

To keep up with Tarleton Cross Country, visit tarletonsports.com/sports/cross-country. 

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