Teams train tailor their training schedules with the hope that they can produce their best performance when a championship is on the line.
That certainly is the goal for the Texas cross country team, which will compete Friday morning at the Big 12 Championships at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kansas.
Texas has had ample time to train for this meet, but very little actual racing preparation. The Longhorns have competed in just one meet this season: the Arturo Barrios Invitational in College Station, Texas, last Saturday. With that said, the Longhorns vowed to make the most of their limited opportunities this fall, especially as they aim at a spot in the NCAA Championships, set to be held March 15, 2021. Posting a good showing Friday is a crucial step in that process.
Sophomore Haftu Knight won the Arturo Barrios Invitational, his second collegiate victory, with a time of 23:52.1, and was named a U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Academic All-America.
Along with Knight, sophomore Crayton Carrozza and freshman Abraham Avila-Martinez will vie for a spot at the front of the pack. Each turned in collegiate personal bests at the Arturo Barrios Invite.
Oklahoma State is the favorite to capture the Big 12 title. The Cowboys are ranked No. 5 in the most recent USTFCCCA national coaches poll, which was released Tuesday. Texas is ranked No. 24.
For the women, Beth Ramos will be UT's best chance to finish in the top five. She brought her best to the Arturo Barrios Invite, and won the women's 6K with a time of 20:23.8. For her efforts, Ramos was named the Big 12 Runner of the Week last week. It was the first such honor she had received in her career. At last year's Big 12 Championship, Ramos was one of four Longhorns to earn All Big-12 honors.
No. 29 Texas is the top-ranked Big 12 team in the USTFCCCA national coaches poll. It is a wide-open field in the women's division, as reigning Big 12 champion Oklahoma State brings back all but one senior from last year's squad, including senior Taylor Somers, who placed second at the Big 12s in 2019. Iowa State's Callie Logue, who claimed the conference individual title last year, is back for the Cyclones.
The women's 6K race begins at 10 a.m. Friday morning, with the men's 8K race following at 11 a.m. Fans can track the meet as it unfolds here. In addition, Big 12 Now on ESPN+ will broadcast a replay of the event.