It's true that all good things do come to an end, including the 2008 men's cross country season. That was the case this past Saturday as the Owls finished fifth at the NCAA South Central Regional meet, meaning they will not be running in the NCAA National Championship. The team needed to finish third or fourth to have a chance at securing an at-large berth to the national meet.Senior Aaron Robson led Rice with a 14th-place finish overall, and he was followed by junior Brad Morris, junior Simon Bucknell, senior Justin Maxwell, redshirt freshman Michael Trejo and junior Brett Olson to round out the scoring runners. Texas A&M University took first place with 39 points, and Texas A&M senior Shadrack Songok won the overall title with a scorching time of 29:52.
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As head coach Vince Lombardi of the NFL's Green Bay Packers once said, "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." The excellence that the men's cross country team will be chasing this weekend will be in the form of the runners in orange from the University of Texas-El Paso and the runners in blue from the University of Tulsa. The Owls, Miners and Golden Hurricane will clash with the other members of Conference USA at the C-USA Championships held Saturday, Nov. 1 in Memphis, Tenn. The team continued their chase for the national championship meet last Saturday at the Penn State National in University Park, Penn. Oct. 10, a week earlier, the team competed at the Houston Baptist University Invitational in Houston.
Hurricane Ike wreaked havoc across the Houston and Galveston areas this past weekend, and the howling wind and pelting rain even managed to disrupt one of the most time-honored traditions of men's cross country: the "yahoo" race. This opening event to the Rice Invitational has always been a fan favorite, because it gives onlookers the chance to run in the two mile competition, in which runners shout "Yahoo!" after the starting gun. Unfortunately this and the other events of the Owls' only home meet will not occur this year, and the runners will focus their attention instead on the Texas A&M Invitational on Sept. 19 in College Station, Tex. As competition intensifies for the Owls in the 2008 campaign, they hope to learn from the lessons of last year's heartbreaking finish at the NCAA South Central Regional. The team finished in eighth place, a mere 13 points out of the top five. Head coach Jon Warren said the story would have ended on a better note had junior Aaron Robson, one of the team's top runners, not sustained an injury days before the meet.