Celt Cross Country Laces Up for Promising Season
After finishing 2022 at the NCAA West Regional Meet, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country student athletes lace up their cleats for an exciting 2023. After a fourth-place finish at last year’s SCAC meet, both teams look to improve their placement this fall.
Led by Head Coach Ryan Dohner, both teams will open the season at their home meet, the Celt Opener on September 1. After that, the teams will run at the Nory Hersey Rice Invitational against a plethora of competitors on September 8. They will then travel to Austin for the Concordia Invitational on September 22 to wrap up the first half of the season.
Kicking off the second half will be the Incarnate Word Invitational on October 1, which will have the Celts facing Division I programs. After that, St. Thomas will travel to California for the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational in advance of the SCAC Championships on October 28. The season will culminate at the NCAA Regional Meet in La Verne, California, where the Celts will race to represent the West Region at the NCAA National Meet on November 11.
“Every year, the UST Cross Country program has improved in performance from the previous season,” Coach Dohner said. “We have a more mature men’s squad that has been working harder this summer than any class I have coached before. On the women’s side, we have some fresh talent coming in that I foresee making an impact on the team's performance this season. The goal this year is to improve upon our conference performance and qualify someone for the national meet.”
Men’s Cross Country- Junior and Senior Duo Lead the Pack
Last season, the Celts were led by the duo of junior Jhancarlos Carpio and senior James Urbina. Carpio led the Celts at the NCAA Regional Meet and took first at the Celt Opener last season. Following those showings, he had an impressive week at the Nory Hersey Rice Invitational topping all DIII runners and finishing in 20th place. These two outings earned him back-to-back SCAC Men's Runner of the Week Honors. James Urbina looks to have a stellar senior year. Urbina led St. Thomas at the Concordia Invitational as he finished fourth place at 23:43, his best time of the season. At that meet, the Celts finished the highest of all Division III programs to take second place. Urbina's performance that week earned him SCAC Men's Runner of the Week Honors. It is these two veterans that may lead the Celts to the next level in the SCAC and NCAA.
Women’s Cross Country Returning Young and Senior Speedsters
Women’s Cross Country returns a newer speedster and a senior leader to their roster. One of those is Sophomore Victoria Ramirez. Ramirez made a splash taking the top three at the Celt Opener to kickstart her collegiate career before improving her time each week last season. Constantly in the top three finishers for the Celts, her best time came at the NCAA Regional Meet where she clocked in at 25:39.30. Also returning is Senior Samantha Hernandez who led the Celts at the SCAC Meet last year. Hernandez clocked in at 25:51:80 at a 4:19/k pace in the women’s race to give St. Thomas the cushion they needed to edge rival Southwestern University. It is these two runners that look to give Women’s Cross Country the edge in the 2023 season.