CANYON – After being in school for 38 days without a meet, the Tarleton State cross country teams finally opened the season with a pair of top-five finishes at the WT Stampede in Canyon.
Led by Tye Doty and Miles Joslin, the men's team finished second in their 2013 debut with 63 total points, trailing only New Mexico Highlands. Highlands was fourth and Tarleton eighth in the latest South Central Region rankings.
Doty finished second with a time of 26 minutes, 11 seconds, while Joslin came in seventh with a time of 26:31. Tarleton's other returning all-conference runner, Chase Rathke, finished 17th in 27:22.
Rounding out the Texans were James Polasek in 18th in 27:25, followed by a trio of freshman – James Bodnar, Luke Scribner and Robert Pereira. Bodnar finished 19th in 27:28, Scribner 37th in 28:53 and Pereira 42nd in 29:20.
"I'm proud of Tye and Miles for the way they competed," said Tarleton head coach Pat Ponder. "However, I do not think any of our other guys competed very well – point blank. I feel like we kind of stopped competing after the first two miles and for us to accomplish the goals we have for this season, we have to get more competitive at race time. I guess that's why New Mexico Highlands is fourth in the region and we're eighth."
On the girls side, a pair of newcomers and a familiar face led the TexAnns to fourth place behind Midwestern State, Dallas Baptist and Eastern New Mexico. West Texas A&M was fifth.
Aly Coughlin finished second in her Tarleton debut with a time of 23:02, while freshman Audrey Shelton finished 12th in 23:33. Senior Lindsey Hinton ran in her first meet since being named all-region in 2011, finishing 21st in 24:06.
"Everyone knows how talented Lindsey is," said Ponder. "So we're just trying to get her fitness level back so by the time conference comes around she'll be ready."
Other TexAnns were Katelin Huckabee in 24th place with a time of 24:12, Sarai Clendenin in 41st in 24:57 and Lauren Finley in 58th in 26:05.
"I was very proud of the girls," said Ponder. "I'm excited about the team chemistry and the way they competed. I think we'll get stronger as the season goes."
Tarleton is idle until an Oct. 5 trip to Fayetteville, Ark. for the Chile Pepper Festival hosted by the University of Arkansas.