Tarleton men impress with 2nd place finish at Texas A&M Invitational, women come in 7th


BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION – The Tarleton men’s and women’s cross-country teams continued on for their third race of the season on Friday morning at Watts Cross Country Course in College Station.

The men came away with a second-place finish and the women finished seventh. The men raced an 8K while the women ran a 5K.

The Tarleton men finished behind first place Texas A&M and ahead of Little Rock, St. Edward’s, UTSA, North Texas, TCU, Texas State and Prairie View.

The top finisher for the men was Kevin Baez who placed fourth with a time of 24:26.1. Angel Contreras finished ninth, just 17 seconds behind Baez with a time of 24:43.2. Jerryth Buckingham came in 21st at 25:29.9, Ricky Tolentino was right behind in 24th with a time of 25:55.0, Austin Flores placed 36th with a time of 26:40.0, Dominick Vastlik came in 43rd with a time of 27:24.2 and AJ Alfaro came in 51st with a time of 28:41.6.

“It was an awesome meet overall,” said head coach Chase Rathke. “The guys second place finish was big. Our goal setting out was to finish top two and we did just that. We have firepower at the top with Kevin and Angel and they did extremely well both placing in the top 10 and they set the tone from the beginning.”

“Our two freshmen were huge in the middle for us,” said Rathke. “Ricky Tolentino ran more to his capability and that was big for him to step up like that. Rickey and Jerryth (Buckingham) were awesome and raced like two upperclassmen. Angel Gomez who was our number three racer on the men’s side had to sit out today. Austin Flores stepped up to finish fifth and he really impressed me today.”

The Tarleton women placed seventh and finished ahead of North Texas, Texas State and Prairie View.

Freshman Morgan Lamberson was the top women finisher for Tarleton, placing 28th with a time of 19:33.1 Jenna Brazeal finished 35th with a time of 19:55.9, followed by Kailey Sykora who finished 42nd with a time of 20:28.5. Vianney Sanchez came in 44th with a time of 20:36.2, Georgina Balderas placed 46th with a time of 20:48.5, Kaleigh Ellis came in 50th with a time of 21:00.4 followed by Sage Lancaster in 57th with a time of 21:25.1.

“Morgan did well, that was her second top finish for us on the women’s side as a freshman,” said Rathke. “Kailey Sykora was impressive and ran a great race. Jenna (Brazeal) made her season debut today and it was good to have her out there. Things did not go our way but it’s still early and we will improve. I want to see more aggressiveness at the beginning from them.”

The Texans will have a week off from competition before heading to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival on Friday Sept. 30.

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