PREVIEW: #UTTylerXC to compete at NCAA South/Southeast Regional

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
by Wes Bloomquist ||

TYLER – UT Tyler will compete at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Cross Country Regional on Saturday at the Clara Bowl course in Rome, Georgia.

The UT Tyler men are coming off winning its seventh straight American Southwest Conference Championship and will be represented by Gerardo Viera, Miles Zeorlin, Justin Tokuz, Will McIlroy, Nathan Adams, Marcus Adams, Quinton Bryson and Shafen Borah. The Patriots are making their eighth consecutive trip to the regional championship with their best finishing coming with a third-place showing in 2008 and fifth in 2013. The team finished 15th overall at last season’s meet. The women’s program is being represented by Rachel Willis and Holly Nohavitza as individuals after they qualified at the ASC Championship.

A freshman from The Woodlands, Adams led the Patriots at the conference meet in Austin by running a 27:55 at the 8K course. Zeorlin was fourth at the meet after running a 28:03 in his senior season, while Tokuz was seventh (28:14) and Viera eighth (28:18) to give the Patriots four top-10 finishes and the conference title. McIlroy led the Patriots in the regular season and posted a 28:45 in the conference meet for 14th with Allen crossing in 15th with a 28:46, Bryson 29:12) and Borah (29:19) following.

“We want all our men under 27’ in the 8k,” UT Tyler coach Bob Hepler said. “They need to complete a thorough warm-up and run a controlled first mile to achieve that goal.  The majority of this team is freshmen. It’s very unusual for such a young team to run at the NCAA Regional Meet. It’s kind of like Justin Bieber running for president.”

The UT Tyler men won three of five meets this season that had team results.

Willis enters the regional meet after running a 23:59 for eighth place at the ASC Championship, while Nohavitza placed 14th with a time of 24:56. A junior from Hallsville, Willis had her top season’s finish by finishing fourth at the University of Dallas meet while Nohavitza finished second at the Braveheart Invitational and King Campbell Spectacular to start the season.

“I think that both of them can run the 6K well under 24’,” Hepler said. “We always stress that if you make the painful act of running as fun as possible that you will perform well.  Don’t stress out before the race.”

This is the seventh time the UT Tyler women have had competitors at the NCAA regional meet.

Berry College will be hosting the event with the top-two teams advancing and the top-seven individuals to the national meet. The Patriots ran in Rome three years ago when the Vikings hosted their last regional.