Special to the E-T

Tarleton Sports Information

ABILENE - The No. 22 Tarleton Texan cross country team finished first-place overall on Saturday while the TexAnns finished fifth at the Naimadu Classic at Grover Nelson Park in Abilene.

The Texans tallied 33 total points to defeat Abilene Christian (42), West Texas A&M (64) and Dallas Baptist (71).

“We are happy with the win and we’ll take it, but we know that we are going to have to be more prepared mentally when we get to the conference meet,” head cross country coach Pat Ponder said. “We can’t afford to have any of these guys to have a let down and we know that.”

Jared McNeil was the first Texan to cross the finish line, coming in third-place overall with a time of 19:53.40 over the four-mile course. Westyn Rosilies followed, coming in at 20:21.25 and sixth-place overall with Chris Haerell right behind him in seventh-place with a time of 20:28.22.

Ryan Quezada finished ninth overall with a time of 20:30.96 and Gerzain Valenzuela finished 10th with a time of 20:39.83 to give the Texans five top-ten finishers.

“For Jared and Gerzain not to have run the way that they would have like to and for us to get the victory, it shows just how well we ran as a team,” Ponder said. “We had five other guys step up today and even though we didn’t run our best race today, we had enough to fill the void.”

Jonathan Kern (13th, 20:40.12) and Logan Mynar (21st, 21:06.89) also compted on the men’s side for Tarleton.

“None of these guys were happy with their performance today,” Ponder said. “So in all, it was a bittersweet win for them. Their is no complacency with this team.”

On the women’s side, Rhylnad Pettinger competed in her first collegiate event of the season and came in 15th place overall, finishing the 2.5 mile course with a time of 16:15.66. Katherine Grillo was right behind her, finishing 16th overall with a time of 16:17.54.

“I was really proud of the way both Rhyland and Katherine performed today,” Ponder said. “For this to be Rhyland’s first meet ever, she showed me that she was a competitor and Katherine really gave it her all today.”

Sheila Bishop (20th, 16:58.38), Kyndall Trnka (23rd, 17:11.68) and Morgan Kuykendall (24th, 17:51.78) were the other competitors for Tarleton on the women’s side.

The TexAnns finished fifth overall tallying a total of 98 points. DBU won the women’s event with a total of 18 points.

The Texans will have a break before the LSC Championships that are scheduled for Oct. 24, in Canyon. The TexAnns will compete in San Angelo this Tuesday at the ASU Classic.