Oct. 31, 2011
HOUSTON - The University of Houston cross country men's team placed third at the Conference USA Championships while the women placed eighth at Wildcat Golf Club in Houston on Monday. The third place finish marks the second time the Houston men have finished in the top-three of the C-USA Championships since 1996.
Senior Wesley Ruttoh paced the men as he finished third, behind UTEP's Elkana Rotich and Conference USA Athlete of the Year Justice Chirchir with a time of 23:55. Freshman Yonas Tesfai added another top-10 finish for Houston as he placed eighth with a 24:11 mark. David Smith completed the course in 24:47, notching 16th place for the Cougars.
The men finished third behind defending C-USA Champion Tulsa and UTEP, while defeating cross-town rival Rice, Marshall, Memphis, East Carolina and Tulane.
"I'm really proud of our guys," head coach Ryan Turner said. "I think Wesley Ruttoh finishing third in our conference and being named Senior of the Meet is pretty amazing. Yonas Tesfai being named Freshman of the Meet is also a great accomplishment for our team. I am really proud of how both of those guys ran and competed. Overall our guys were just phenomenal, by far the best I've seen since I have been at Houston."
Wesley Ruttoh, Yonas Tesfai and David Smith received All-Conference awards following the meet. Ruttoh was named Senior of the Meet and was named to the All-Conference First Team. Tesfai was named Freshman of the Meet, while also being named to the All-Conference Second Team and Smith took the All-Conference Third Team honors.
For the women, junior Kathryn Ducommun led the way for Houston for the first time this season as she placed 31st in the 5K race with a time of 18:30.1. Senior Megan Munoz completed the course in 18:34.8, placing 37th, as the women placed eighth.
"Our woman ran one of our best races of the season," Turner said. We have some injuries that we have been dealing with, but they didn't let that stop them from putting together a great effort."
Houston will head to Waco, Texas to compete in the South Central Region Championships on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course. The NCAA National Championships will be held in Terre Haute, In., on Monday, Nov. 21. The top-two teams automatically qualify to compete at nationals along with the top-four individuals who are not on a qualifying team.
"Today's course was a great course to prepare us for regionals, " Turner said. "It was very hilly, a lot of up and down hills just as Baylor will have."
3. Wesley Ruttoh - 23:55
8. Yonas Tesfai - 24:11
16. David Smith - 24:47
23. Anthony Jordan - 25:22
25. Andres Santaolalla - 25:32
29. Nate Pineda - 25:49
36. John Cantu - 26:20
43. Drevan Anderson-Kaapa - 26:44
44. Anthony Coleman - 26:45
31. Kathryn Ducommun - 18:30
37. Megan Munoz - 18:34
43. Starla Garcia - 18:53
57. Julie Reinwald - 19:24
59. Jaime Johnson - 19:24
62. Eryn Barroso - 19:31
80. Alexis Vick - 20:22.1
81. Taylor Beer - 20:22.5
88. Yasiris Gonzalez - 21:36