(Live Oak) - The Texas Lutheran Men's Cross Country Team ran for the very first time as a collegiate squad Friday and combined with the TLU Women's Cross Country Team to provide an exciting start to the Bulldogs' 2014 seasons.
TLU Men's Cross Country, a first-year program, and TLU Women's Cross Country each ran in the University of the Incarnate Word Alamo City Opener, contested at Live Oak City Park in Live Oak, Texas.
The men competed in the 6,000-meter race with runners from University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas State, UIW, Trinity, Our Lady of the Lake and Schreiner.
In the non-Division I category, the Bulldogs took third in the team standings with 80 total points. Trinity won the non-DI section with 21 points, and Our Lady of the Lake was third, with 42.
TLU registered finishes of 11th, 14th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 27th. Seven of the 10 TLU runners on the squad competed in Friday's meet.
Freshman runner Blake Westbrook (Victoria/Victoria West) paced the Bulldogs with the 11th-place finish in a time of 22 minutes, 22.63 seconds. Fellow freshman Travis Koenig (Fredericksburg/Fredericksburg) came home in 14th in a time of 22:41.08.
Jonathan Beal (San Antonio/Warren), Caston Casey (Seguin/Seguin), Mason Allenger (Gonzales/Seguin), Matthew Villarreal (Schertz/Steele), and Jacob Lara (San Antonio/Marshall) rounded out the Bulldogs' racing squad of seven.
"I felt like we had a great showing with a lot of support on hand from family and friends," said Darlene Holland, TLU's head coach for men's and women's cross country. "The guys did what I told them to do and ran even-paced throughout. They ran smart. We are excited to have everyone race at the TLU Invitational next weekend."
In the women's 4,000-meter race, the Bulldogs also took third in the non-DI category. Trinity won the meet with 27 points, and OLLU took second with 38. TLU scored 75 points, and Schreiner scored 112.
TLU sophomore Sarah Fritzsche (San Antonio/Churchill) posted a top-five finish in the non-DI section. She finished just 24.81 seconds behind the non-DI winner (Jazmine Garcia of OLLU) and collected fifth place with a time of 15:46.82.
"Sarah Fritzsche started off the meet with a great showing for the ladies," said Holland. "As a whole, the women have a lot of work to do. Fortunately, we have a lot of time left in the season."
Junior Jasmine Medrano (Lytle/Lytle) and junior Sarah Randall (San Angelo/Central) recorded 17th and 26th-place finishes with times of 17:19.61 and 18:09.21, respectively.
Haley Cortez (Bartlett/Bartlett), Samantha Lopez (Llano/Llano), Amanda Lopez (Llano/Llano), Kelsey Gomez (Hondo/Hondo) and Kristen Hinton (San Antonio/Churchill) rounded out the Bulldogs' running roster on Friday.
Both TLU squads compete Saturday, Sept. 6 on campus in the Texas Lutheran University Invitational, set for a 9 a.m. start.