Cross country team to make debut this weekend

The TCU cross country team has been consistently improving each week in preparation for its first appearance in a Big 12 Championship meet Saturday in Austin.

"Basically every meet has been improvement, improvement, improvement and that's not just me, that's everybody," senior runner Tricia Terry said.

Head coach Liz Wort said all three seniors have hit their personal best record at different times and that she hopes they can pull together for their Big 12 debut meet.

"We haven't had one race where all of them have run well in the same day so we're hoping that happens either in the Big 12 championship or regionals," Wort said. "We'll be able to see our best team results if they can all do it on the same day."

Wort said the consistent improvement is the product of training through every meet this fall.

"We definitely backed off this week for the first time all fall so hopefully some of the team will feel fresher at this meet than they have," she said.

Terry said she can see the benefit from working straight through weeks of meets.

"What I can say is, each week things have been changing as far as our positivity. If you have a work out that is better than the week before, you're going to be more confident you know," Terry said. "We're getting more accustomed and efficient running wise and it's confidence-boosting."

Wort said members of the men's team have been beating their personal best records as well but that the team needs more depth to be competitive in the Big 12.

"I think we're probably a couple years off. We need a little more depth, we need our guys to get a little more fit, and just a couple of years of training and experience behind them," Wort said. 

The men's team consists of one freshman, one senior, one junior and seven sophomores.

Wort said all runners on both teams, except for senior and two-time Big 12 Runner of the Week  Agnes Kemboi, have significantly backed off their training this week.

The break from training is beneficial for most runners, but Kemboi said she does not mind the workouts.

"It's fun running," Kemboi said. "It's like a stress reducer."

Being the top runner on the women's team, Kemboi is training through this meet to prepare for regionals. 

Wort said she expects the women's team to place somewhere between fifth and eighth place and that the Frogs' main competitors are the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. Iowa State, the University of Texas-Austin and the University of Oklahoma are expected to place at the top, she said.

She said the men's team results are dependent on Sophomore Preston Newsome.

"He's been our top performer for the fall and he has been making really good progress so I'm kind of excited to see what he can do individually," Wort said. "That'll kind of give us an idea of where our team should fall."

Wort said despite the results of the upcoming meet, both teams are excited for a new opportunity.

"It's just a historic moment for TCU in general, you know the first big 12 meet. There's only one time to be the first time and that's this year," Wort said. "I think everyone is excited to represent TCU well and make a good first impression in the Big 12."

Kemboi agrees, saying her motivation to run well comes from wanting to help her team and represent her school.