The University of Texas at Tyler’s Cross Country teams concluded their strong seasons with impressive performances at the American Southwest Conference Championships, and nine runners named to All-ASC teams.
The men dominated the final run, with five UT Tyler runners finishing with All-American Southwest Conference First Team Honors. Ben Donnan (SO/Paris, TX) won the race with a time of 26:16, followed by Chauncey Deller’s (JR/Longview, TX) 26:29 and Warren Brown’s (SO/Lindale, TX) 26:45. Corey Kellam (JR/Frisco, TX) finished fifth with a time of 26:58, and William Ritter (SR/Carthage, TX) seventh with a time of 27:12.
All five runners were named to the All-ASC First Team, with Donnan, Brown, and Kellam all repeat First Teamers.
Bojan Kajtaz (SO/Kakanj, Bosnia) finished eleventh with a time of 27:34, and Brock Babin (SR/Nederland, TX) ended his career with a 13th place finish and a time of 28:09. Both runners were named to the All-ASC Second Team.
UT Tyler Cross Country coach Bob Hepler said his two-time ASC Champion men’s team is setting the bar pretty high.
“The men are way ahead of what I envisioned. We got really lucky with a bunch of guys with good character who love to run, who are good students, and who love running together. My biggest problem with them is they run too much some times, and as a coach, that’s a good problem to have.”
In all, the top fourteen places in the meet were taken by runners from UT Tyler or McMurry, and Hepler says that rivalry helped to pace the Patriots.
“What I really liked was how our guys were battling the McMurry guys. A lot of people probably don’t know how exciting cross country can be, but it was really fun to watch.”
On the women’s side, Charity Bolling (SR/Stephenville, TX) finished ninth with a time of 26:24, and Joanna Beers was thirteenth with a time of 26:43. Both women made the All-ASC Second team, and Hepler sees his women’s performances as
“I would say that ten of our fourteen women PR’ed (set personal records), which is always a good sign. Two of them were battling injuries, and they still had good strong performances.”
“We have a good strong nucleus coming back for the women. If they train hard next year, I see us battling McMurry and Texas Lutheran just like we did this year.”
“We’re just working away, getting better and better. We’re right where we should be.”