Cross Country prepared for final race before WAC Championships in College Station


STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton cross country is locked in for its final race ahead of the WAC Cross Country Championships when they race at the Arturo Barrios Invitational hosted by Texas A&M at Watts Cross Country Course in College Station on Saturday morning.

The No. 12 ranked men kick things off with an 8k at 9 a.m. CT followed by the women’s 6k at 9:45 a.m. CT. The field is loaded, with 41 teams in attendance. The No. 12 Texan men will see 12 other regionally ranked schools in the South-Central Region in attendance.

Racing for Tarleton on the men’s side will be Kevin Baez, Angel Contreras, Angel Gomez, Jerryth Buckingham, Ricky Tolentino, Austin Flores and Dominick Vastlik.

“It’s going to be a competitive field,” said head coach Chase Rathke. “We will see nearly all the teams ranked ahead of us in this region at the race, so this is important to see how we perform and stack up in our region.”

On the women’s side Tarleton will have Morgan Lamberson, Vianney Sanchez, Jordan Jones, Aimee Landers-Wilburn, Kailey Sykora and Georgina Balderas racing.

“We’re sitting out a few to make sure our health is where it needs to be heading into the WAC meet,” said Rathke. “That creates some opportunity for some other athletes to make a mark and show what they bring to the table.”

The Arturo Barrios Invitational will be Tarleton’s second meet at the Watts Cross Country Course in College Station this season. Previously they raced at the Texas A&M Invitational on Sept. 16 where the men placed second and the women placed seventh. Baez placed fourth overall in the race with a 24:26.1 in the 8k. Tolentino and Buckingham, both freshmen, also had big races for the Texans. Lamberson was the top finisher for the Texan women coming in at 28th overall with a time of 19:33.1.

“We have a good team mindset at the moment,” said Rathke. “Both teams grew a lot confidence wise at the Chile Pepper Festival. We have reached quite a few of the goals we set out for at the beginning of the season, so that has us excited that our process is working.”

Live results can be found here. Admission is free.

The Texans will see four WAC schools running alongside them at the race, which should provide some clarity on how they can perform at the conference meet.

Next up, Tarleton will have a weekend off from racing but will return to action on Oct. 29 in Nacogdoches for the WAC Cross Country Championships to conclude the season.

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