Special to the E-T

Tarleton Sports Information

SAN ANTONIO - The men’s cross country team finished sixth in NCAA Divison II South Central Cross Country Championships on Saturday, ending a very successful season.

“We didn’t finish the job that we came down here to do,” Tarleton head coach Pat Ponder said.  “But I thought we fought hard and this will be a building block for a young team going into next season.”

Lone Star Conference Champions, Abliene Christian, earned top honors at the regional meet, finishing with 31 total points.  Missouri Southern (105) and Pittsburg State (149) finished second and third respectively to earn a trip to the NCAA national meet.

Southwest Baptist (151) and Texas A&M-Commerce (154) finished just ahead of the Texans who tallied 165 total points.

Jared McNeil was the first Texan to cross the finish line in eighth place overall (31:46.9) with Kolin Styles following in 15th place overall (32:13.7).  Both runners earned South Central All-Region honors for placing in the top 20.

Westin Rosiles (32:51.90, Jonathan Kern (33:21.4), Ryan Quesada (33:38:8), Rey Hinojosa (33:57.9) and Gerzain Valenzuela (34:23.9) rounded out the remaining Texan runners.

Kymberlee Trnka and Krista Morris each competed individually on Saturday.  Trnka finished the 6K 38th overall with a time of 23:12.6 and Morris placed 60th finishing in a time of 23:58.6.  Despite not finishing in the top 20, both runners were able to set personal records at the meet.

“I thought both ladies did an outstanding job,” Ponder said.  “They were able to finish the season and their careers on a great note.”

Both teams will return a lot of young talent next season from this year’s team.  The men will lose just three seniors in Hinojosa, Ko. Styles adn Kevin Emmert while the girls team will just lose Trnka and Morris.

“We have a great young group of guys on the men’s side returning next season,” Ponder said.  “I think the success of this season will transfer over next fall and into future seasons.  We are losing a lot of leadership with the losses of Trnka and Morris, but we have some young ladies that will do great things for us next season.”