Oct. 6, 2011
HOUSTON - The University of Houston cross country teams will travel across town to compete in the Puma Cross Country Open hosted by Houston Baptist on Friday.
The men's team continues to climb the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association South Central Region ranks as they have moved from ninth place to eighth in the latest poll following last weekend's performance at the Rogue Grass Routes Invitational.
"It came as a surprise because we didn't upset anyone in Austin last weekend," head coach Ryan Turner said. "There's no doubt that we're an improving team and we're excited to be ranked eighth in our region, but we hope to finish much higher when that time comes."
Houston's eighth place regional ranking is the highest in Turner's five-year tenure at Houston.
HBU Puma Cross Country Open
Houston will join Rice, HBU, Baylor, Northwood, Texas Southern, Prairie View A&M and Sam Houston in the field of teams set to compete in the meet. The Cougars were not scheduled to compete in the meet, but decided they would benefit from another chance to compete following the Rogue Grass Routes Running Festival last weekend.
The women are slated to run the three-mile course at 5:45 p.m., the men will run the four-mile course at 6:15 p.m.
"After returning from Austin last weekend our women really felt like they needed another opportunity to compete before we travel to California next weekend," Turner said.
"Six of our top men will not race this week," Turner said. They wanted to take this week off as an opportunity to focus on their training. I think this is a great meet for some of our younger runners to compete in, they'll be relied on for our team scoring whereas in other meets they haven't felt that urgency."
The men took fifth, while the women placed eighth at the Rouge Grass Routes Running Festival in Austin, Texas, Sept. 30.
For the men, Wesley Ruttoh paced the Cougars as he finished the 8K course in 24:49, placing seventh. Yonas Tesfai followed Ruttoh, as the freshman placed 11th, with a 25:58 mark. David Smith, Nate Pineda and Anthony Jordan also put together solid races for the Cougars, finishing 30th, 35th and 42nd, respectively.
On the women's side, Megan Munoz led the Cougars as she finished the 6K course in 23:08, finishing 22nd. Munoz has been the lead runner for Houston in every competition this season. Kathryn Duccomun followed Munoz, finishing in 23:44, placing 34th. Julie Reinwald finished as the number three runner for the Cougars, completing the course in 24:19 to place 42nd.
Houston will travel to Los Angeles, Calif., for the Cal-State Northridge Invitational on Oct. 15.