Men’s and women’s cross country teams return after 17-year hiatus

After a 17-year hiatus, UMHB’s cross country program has hit the 2018 season running. Led by coach Alex Aldaco, both the men’s and women’s teams are excited to be part of the new generation of runners at UMHB.  After a 17-year hiatus, UMHB’s cross country program has hit the 2018 season running. Led by coach Alex Aldaco, both the men’s and women’s teams are excited to be part of the new generation of runners at UMHB. “It’s amazing to be the first group back,” senior cell biology and pre-med major Alex Suominen said. “It carries a certain honor and draws attention from fellow students who are also wishing to participate.”Junior sports management major Cade Baker is looking forward to the legacy of the team. “It’s awesome to be able to walk on and get to help rebuild the program,” Baker said. “This program is going to be special one day and it’ll be great to look back and see [that] I got to rebuild it from day one.”Although the team is in its infancy, they are already coming together as one team that feels like family. “My favorite part about running UMHB is the community the team has,” Baker said.  “From day one I felt like everyone clicked well with each other and wanted to be on the team.”Suominen also has similar feelings about the team atmosphere. “We all struggle together and we all triumph together, it’s a special bond,” Suominen said.Both the men’s and women’s teams are a good mix of upper and lower classmen. With a mixture of younger and older students on the team, it creates a good basis for the program with experienced runners who can help lead the younger team members. These same young runners will then help continue to build the program in the next few years. The team has so far participated in one meet this season, on August 31, 2018 at the Nicole Leman Invitational Meet in Longview. The men’s team took 6th place out of seven teams. The women’s team placed 4th out of five. There are three more invitational meets scheduled for the year before the ASC Championship on October 27, 2018 in Abilene. The teams run at Concordia University in Austin on September 29th, the East Texas Baptist University DIII Texas Championships in Marshall on October 6th and the University of Dallas Invitational on October 13th in Irving. The teams are both enthusiastic about the upcoming season and the program as a whole. It is always an exciting time when UMHB expands their sports department to include a new sport. “We get to show the beautiful balance of education and sports and how they are able to coincide without too much stress,” Suominen said of the teams’ participation and competition in meets. “It has made this a wonderful year already and we still have so much more to come.”

Author: Katrina Wordell

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