DENTON – Florian Lussy of North Texas captured the men's title at the Ken Garland Invitational Saturday with a time of 19:12.3 to guide Mean Green men's cross country to a second-place finish in the four-mile race while Rea Iseli finished third at 17:40.3 in the 5k as the women came in second overall also at UNT Discovery Park.
The men were just shy of the top spot with 40 points scored, as Incarnate Word won the team title with a total of 39. The Mean Green women tallied 58 points, finishing behind SMU with 19.
Top-10 finishers for the men included Jack Beaumont in fourth place (19:25.4), and Alec Esposito in eighth (20:04.8), while Tatum Shelton earned sixth place (18:50.7) for the women.
"Today was a solid second meet for us," Head Coach Kevin Williams stated. "Florian got the win in front of his parents. They hadn't seen him run yet in college, so that was very exciting, and he beat a really nice runner from UTA. Rea had a really nice race. She got healthy this summer and back to some good training."
Matthew Morgan (20:28.8), Caleb Bouchard (20:31.8), and Andrew Cobos (20:38.7) came in 15th, 16th, and 17th for the UNT men, while Tim Jones (20:42.5) and Alex Cleveland (20:48.1) finished 19th and 21st, respectively.
Aubrey Schmidt (19:09.8) was just outside the top-10 in 11th place, as Cassidy Adams (19:25.5) concluded in 16th, and Jennifer White (19:58.7) came in 22nd. Kacie Mayberry (20:51.8) and Darrian Johnson (20:52.0) were back-to-back in 27th and 28th, respectively.
"On both sides, the young runners really stepped up. Both the freshman classes ran really well," Williams added.
The namesake of the meet, Ken Garland, was in attendance and shared his thoughts. "I want to thank Coach Williams for putting this together; it's not an easy task. At this meet, I really enjoy seeing the athletes I coached back in the day. Now they are here watching their own kids compete."
Garland, a UNT Hall of Famer, is credited with beginning the cross country programs at Denton High and Strickland Junior High in 1969. "It's really important for me to be out here and see both the UNT men and women run as well as the Denton High athletes."
Next up, the Mean Green travel to compete in the Chili Pepper invited hosted by Arkansas September 22.