COLLEGE STATION – Florian Lussy
of North Texas became just the third cross country runner in program history to qualify for the NCAA Championships with his third place finish in a time of 31:41.6 at the South Central Regional Friday morning at the Dale Watts course hosted by Texas A&M.
Lussy improved eight places following the 2k mark to grab his championship berth and All-Region accolades. The top two teams, Arkansas and Texas, advance to the championships, as Lussy was among the top four individuals not associated with the qualifying teams to earn a spot.
"I was really nervous but also was aware that there were 10-15 guys who had a chance to take these four spots," Lussy said of his mindset entering the race. "I was really excited about the muddy and windy conditions since it makes the race a bit more of a mental game."
Lussy joins Paul Ndachi (1999) and Troy Taylor (2014) as the only other Mean Green to qualify for Nationals.
The men entered the race ranked sixth in the region and improved to a fourth place finish with a score of 162. No. 19 Arkansas took the team title with a total of 59.
was also awarded All-Region with his 18th
-place finish in a time of 32:18.2. Alec Esposito
ran a 33:02.7 for 35th
place, while Alex Cleveland
posted a 33:31.3 in the 53rd
spot. Andrew Cobos
), Matthew Morgan
), and Tim Jones
) also performed at the meet to help UNT to its best overall finish since 2014.
"As a program we have not had a lot of top five team finishes in school history, and this is a great step towards being the program we want to be," Head Coach Kevin Williams
said. "Florian ran bold from the beginning and earned an auto bid for himself to Nationals, and Jack also came through with an All-Region run."
The Mean Green women cracked the top 15 for an overall 14th
-place finish with a score of 358. No. 5 Arkansas and Texas also went 1-2 on the women's side, with the first four runners belonging to the Razorbacks for a team total of 21.
was the sixth finisher behind the Arkansas and Texas runners for 15th
place in a time of 21:18.9 to earn All-Region honors. Cassidy Adams
was the next Mean Green to cross the finish line in a time of 22:43.4 in 68th
place. Tatum Shelton
), Aubrey Schmidt
), Jennifer White
), and Darrian Johnson
) concluded the race for UNT.
"We had a very solid day today," Williams said. "We ran a tough race and have really progressed since the beginning of the year. Rea ran a fantastic race up front to earn an All-Region performance."
Lussy will head to Madison, Wisconsin, to compete at Nationals Nov. 17 hosted by Wisconsin with the 10k beginning at 11:45 a.m.