Nov. 12, 2011
WACO, Texas - The University of Houston cross country men placed seventh, while the women finished 17th at Saturday's NCAA Division I South Central Regional Cross Country Championships at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco, Texas.
"Today was a special day for both of our teams," head coach Ryan Turner said. "I couldn't be more proud of their efforts and season long commitment to our program and to each other."
The men placed seventh out of 17 teams that were represented at the South Central Regional with 214 points.
Senior Wesley Ruttoh paced the Cougars, clocking in at 30:54 in the 10K race earning sixth place. With the sixth place finish Ruttoh automatically qualified to compete as an individual at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.
"Wesley ran a tough race," Turner said. "He knew what he had to do to qualify for nationals and executed our race plan. Houston has a lot of cross country tradition and it's great to be sending a UH Cougar to the cross country national championships."
Junior David Smith followed Ruttoh as he placed 31st with a time of 31:55. Freshman Yonas Tesfai was Houston's No. 3 finisher on Saturday as he finished 43rd. His time of 32:33 made him the fourth-fastest freshman in the region.
Also running for Houston in Waco were Nate Pineda, who came in 69th place in 33:18, Anthony Jordan who placed 72nd, John Cantu who finished 87th and senior Andres Santaolalla rounded out the bunch for Houston with his 83rd place finish.
The women placed 17 out of 23 teams that were represented at the South Central Regional with 460 points.
"Our women have battled through some injuries this year," Turner said. "But through it all they've stayed determined to finish in a positive manor. Its a complement to our seniors, Megan and Starla, and the leadership they've brought to this team."
Junior Kat Ducommun led the women, as she placed 59th with a time of 22:44. Senior Starla Garcia followed in 79th place, with an official time of 23:08 while senior Megan Munoz finished as the No. 3 runner for Houston as she completed the 6K course in 23:25, placing 86th.
Houston's final two competitors were sophomore Julie Reinwald and freshman Alexis Vick. Vick came in soon after Reinwald, taking 137th place in 25:13, while Reinwalds's time of 25:11 was good for 136th place.
Ruttoh will represent Houston at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind.