WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – R.J. Cowan was the top finisher at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Regional Championship and The University of Texas at Tyler men’s cross country team finished in third place Saturday at the Eastern State Cross Country Course.
The Patriots’ women placed 19th. The event was the first postseason NCAA competition for any UT Tyler team.
Cowan’s time of 26:02 for the 8K course bested teammate and No. 2 finisher Ben Donnan by just three seconds in the field of 170 runners. Both runners will advance to the NCAA Cross Country Championships as individuals for the Patriots. They also earned first-team All-Region honors.
The Patriots, who entered the race ranked No. 1 in the region and coming off winning their third-straight American Southwest Conference Championship, finished with 77 team points. Rhodes and Emory finished with 76 points each to earn the regions' two automatic qualifier spots.
The national championship is Saturday in Northfield, Minn. on the campus of St. Olaf College.
During the race, Cowan and Donnan both led the field at different points, while Warren Brown, who finished in 15th place (26:28), helped give UT Tyler three runners in the top 15.
“I am very happy because this is something I have worked toward for four years,” said Cowan. “To see the hard work culminate like this is pretty awesome.”
Corey Kellam’s time of 26:57 was good enough for 20th place and, along with Brown, earned third-team All-Region honors.
Other regional finishes for the UT Tyler men were Chauncey Deller in 43rd place with a time of 27:48, Ross Renfroe in 51st place with a time of 27:57, and Bojan Kajtaz with a 64th place time of 28:08.
In the women’s race, Lindsey Moore was the top finisher for UT Tyler with an 80th place time of 26:39. Heidi Stevens was the next finisher for the Patriots in 89th place (26:53). Sarah Hankla, Jessica Beers, and Rachel Carroll, rounded out the scoring for UT Tyler by finishing in 94th, 120th, and 165th places, respectively.
As a team, the women scored 538 points, placing them 19th in the field of 28 teams. Their score was good enough to beat local rivals Texas Lutheran and Texas-Dallas.