SAN ANTONIO — Fresh off its first conference championship in 17 years, UTSA will look to carry its postseason momentum into Friday's NCAA South Central Regional in Waco. The 6,000-meter race is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course and schools from the states of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas will make up the field.
The Roadrunners, who enter the meet as the region's fifth-ranked squad, will face runners from 23 teams — Arkansas, Arkansas State, Baylor, Central Arkansas, Houston, Houston Baptist, Lamar, Louisiana-Lafayette, LSU, McNeese State, New Orleans, North Texas, Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, Stephen F. Austin, Texas, Texas-Pan American, Texas A&M, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas State, Tulane and UT Arlington — in the race that precedes the NCAA Championships.
The top two teams, along with the top four individuals not on an advancing squad, will qualify for the national meet, which is scheduled for next Saturday, Nov. 23, in Terre Haute, Ind.
After two years of being on the brink of a league title, the third time proved to be the charm for UTSA, as it won the Conference USA Championship two weeks ago.
Led by Nina Herrera's fourth-place finish, the Roadrunners captured the program's first crown since 1996 and sixth overall in school history (1991-93, '95-96 Southland Conference). It didn't come without drama, however, as UTSA tied Tulsa with 27 points but won the head-to-head tiebreaker, 3-2.
Herrera covered the 5,000-meter Eagle Point Cross Country Course in 17:24.04 and was the Roadrunners' top finisher for the fourth time this fall and the 10th time in her career. Meanwhile, Emily Perez was four spots back in eighth following her 17:40.90 performance, while Samantha Fish (17th/17:52.21), Alyssa Diaz (18th/17:55.26) and Stephanie Wangui (20th/17:58.02) all finished in the top 20 to round out the team's scorers.
UTSA currently sits behind Arkansas (the nation's third-ranked squad), Texas A&M (28th nationally), SMU and Texas in the South Central Region standings.