TexAnn cross-country first time to advance to National Championship

Jordan Garrard / Sports Writer

The Tarleton State University women’s cross country team qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championship for the first time in Tarleton’s NCAA history.

The TexAnns were led by Lindsey Hinton and Aly Coughlin, who both finished in the top 25 of the NCAA South Central Regional cross country meet Saturday, Nov. 9, in Canyon. The TexAnns finished in sixth place overall and are eligible to run in the championship race.

 “I’m really excited for this group of ladies,” said cross-country head coach Pat Ponder. “It exemplifies the way our season has been. We knew going in to the season it would be tough, but they worked hard and now we have to get ready for one more race.”

Hinton and Coughlin finished 17th and 24th, respectively, with times of 22:07 and 22:19, after finishing first and second in the Lone Star Conference Championship meet two weeks prior.

Finishing out the TexAnns top five runners were Audrey Shelton finishing in 34th place with a time of 22:36, Katelin Huckabee finishing in 53rd with a time of 22:59, and Tylo Farrar came in 96th with a time of 24:11.

Lauren Finley (112th) and Lillianna Castaneda (126th) were just behind the top five with times of 24:34 and 25:03, respectively.

 “Our region has to be the toughest in the nation. We have the most national qualifiers in Division II so to accomplish a feat like this speaks volumes about our girls,” said Ponder.

Injuries troubled the men’s team, and no Texan runners finished in the top 50, putting them in 15th place overall.

“It’s one of those bitter sweet days because you’re excited for the ladies and disappointed for the guys,” said Ponder. “We knew it would be tough and we had some battles to work through. We realistically felt we could have finished in the top 10, but we’ll take the results and learn from them.”

Finishing in the top 100 were Dylan Willet in 51st with a time of 32:33, Chase Rathke finishing in 57th place with a time of 32:38, and James Bodnar finishing in 65th place with a time of 32:57.

Rounding out the Texans were Ben Haynes (34:32) in 101st place, James Polasek (35:41) in 27th place, and Andrew Clark (36:36) in 129th place.

The TexAnns will compete in the championship race in Spokane, Washington on Nov. 23.