The Tulsa men's cross country team made history by winning its fourth consecutive Conference USA Championship, and the women's team claimed their first C-USA title since 2010 Saturday morning at Eagle Point Cross Country Course.
Senior Chris O'Hare was named Outstanding Senior of the Meet after finishing second in the 8K race with a time of 24:50.09. The Golden Hurricane men totaled 26 points, beating second-place North Texas by 37 points, and became the first team in C-USA history to win four straight C-USA titles. TU placed all five scorers in the top eight finishers of the race. Tulsa head coach Steve Gulley was named C-USA Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year.
The women's team totaled 67 points to tie UTSA for the championship, placing all five scorers among the top 21 finishers in the race. Junior Brandi Krieg led the Hurricane with a ninth-place finish, running the 5K in 17:41.52.
Senior Andrew Heyes placed fourth in the men's race with a time of 24:55.43, and was followed by junior Danny Thater, who ran a 25:04.85 to finish fifth. Sophomore Marc Scott ran a seventh-place time of 25:16.18 and junior Tim Rackers ran an eighth-place time of 25:25.76 to round out the men's scoring.
"It meant a lot to the guys, knowing that they had a chance to be in the record book with four straight," Gulley said. "They take the conference championships very seriously, and they're very proud of how far the program has come over the last eight or nine years and they want to keep that going. I don't think that's something they take lightly. They appreciate the former athletes and what they've done, so it's their job to keep it going."
Senior Katherine Camp and freshman Stacie Taylor followed behind Krieg in the women's race, placing 10th and 11th, respectively. Camp ran the 5K race in 17:42.50, while Taylor ran 17:44.10. Junior Natasha Cockram placed 16th with a time of 17:49.90, and freshman Rachel Baptista rounded out the TU women's scoring with a 21st-place finish time of 17:59.16.
"It was great to have three ladies that we were thinking were going to run a little bit back, step up and deliver the race and save us today," Gulley said. "And I think that's the key. We take it as a team sport and it's great to have certain kids step up, and I think that's what saved us today. The kids ran the race of their lives when they needed to, and it meant a lot to the teams."
The C-USA Championship was the fifth for the TU men's squad, matching UTEP for the most overall cross country titles in league history.
"It was really an emotional ride on the girls side," said Gulley. "Two of our girls got caught in the last 30 meters. We thought we lost it. A tie is a tie, but I'm proud of it, and I'm extremely proud of the efforts that we got today."
The Golden Hurricane next runs at the Midwest Regional Championships Nov. 15 in Ames, Iowa.