Every year, 12 teams enter the cross country season with championship aspirations, but in the end only one team will walk away as champions. In the American Athletic Conference this year that team was Tulsa University.
Tulsa walked away with titles for both its men’s and women’s teams, as for the Pirates they finished in the middle of the pack at the respectable sixth spot. Compared to last year, though the men took a step up moving up from eighth place to sixth while the women remained at sixth.
“You are never going to be satisfied from a team perspective if you don’t win,” head coach Josey Weaver said. “You don’t go to a meet to finish in third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or whatever place that may be. I thought we had a lot of people that had great races, but we are just pretty young.”
Out of the 82 runners, only the top 15 receive All-Conference honors and the Pirates had one in junior Josh Spare. With his time of 24:30.69 Spare finished in 13th place.
So, incredibly proud of this young man! From walk-on status to the #1 runner for the team and All- Conference Honors! @joshspare You are the epitome of hard work and resiliency! Awesome work today! pic.twitter.com/bfatLiOYJc— Brie Berkowitz (@BrieBerkowitz) November 2, 2019
Also for the Pirates were sophomore Ethan Hageman and senior Dean Abushouk who ended up in 28th and 29th place respectively. They finished with times of 25:20.18 and 25:21.92.
On the women’s side, senior Nuria Tillo-Prats was the top ECU performer finishing in 22nd-place with a time of 21:33.19. Behind her for the pirates was sophomore Abby Yourkavitch in 34th place, with a time of 21:56.43.
“On the men’s side Ethan Hageman may not have had the day he wanted but he definitely held on for the team and helped the men jump up in the conference standings. Mitchell Martin was another good one he was our number five Dean Abushouk as a senior ran a really good race,” Weaver said. “On the women’s side Nuria had a great race. She was just about all conference every single year from her freshman year till now she has jumped up in the conference and that a real big credit to her.”
The Pirates’ next meet will test them just as much as they will be traveling to Charlottesville, Virginia to participate in the South East Regional Championship where they will run against every Division I program from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky. They will only be allowed to bring seven male and seven female runners to see where they stand amongst those in the South East
The South East Regional Championships will be held on Friday, Nov. 15.