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Men, Women Look to Defend C-USA Crowns in Houston

Tulsa is headed to Houston for the 2011 Conference USA Cross Country Championships
Tulsa is headed to Houston for the 2011 Conference USA Cross Country Championships
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Oct. 28, 2011

Conference USA Championship Home

TULSA, Okla. -The University of Tulsa will head to Houston for the 2011 Conference USA Cross Country Championships October 31 at Wildcat Golf Course. The event is being hosted by Rice University and the men's 8K race is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The women's 6K event is scheduled for 10 a.m., and the awards ceremony will follow the races at 11 a.m.

Tulsa claimed both C-USA crowns last year, becoming just the third program in league history to sweep the championship titles. Both teams look to defend their crowns but will have strong competition against the remaining field.

Tulsa is the lone C-USA men's team currently ranked in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Top-30 poll, checking in at No. 27. The Golden Hurricane is also the highest ranked regional team at No. 4 in the Midwest Region, followed by Rice and Houston at No. 6 and 8, respectively, in the South Central Region.

Prior to the most recent USTFCCCA women's poll, Tulsa was ranked No. 37 in the country. In the South Central Regional poll SMU and Rice are No. 3 and 4, respectively, while Tulsa is ranked 12th in the Midwest as is East Carolina in the Southeast. UTEP and UAB are both ranked 14th in their respective regions this week.

The Top 21 finishers earn all-conference honors as 1-7 are placed on the first team, 8-14 are second teamers and the third team is comprised of 15-21 finishers.

MEN SHINE AT NCAA PRE-NATIONALS
The TU men's cross country team had a stellar showing at NCAA Pre-Nationals October 16. The team finished sixth out of 35 teams in the 8K event with 197 points and took down No. 7 Indiana in the process. The Hoosiers placed eighth with 259 points. Tulsa also defeated No. 41 Virginia Tech as the Hokies placed ninth with 322 points. Senior Paulo Pinheiro paced the Golden Hurricane with his 30th-place finish. He crossed the line in 24:49. The women finished 10th out of 40 teams, ending the 6K event with 336 points. Senior Paula Whitingpaced the women with an 11th-place finish, as she crossed the line in 20:59.

TU MAKES MARK IN STILLWATER
The Tulsa women placed fifth out of 20 teams, and the TU men placed sixth out of 29 teams at the OSU Jamboree in Stillwater Oct. 1. Both teams had strong showings at the event, and the men were paced by senior Paulo Pinheiro's 18th-place finish. He crossed the line in 24:33.91 in the 8K event. Senior Paula Whiting led the women with her 13th-place finish. She clocked a time of 17:46.13 in the 5K event. Junior Ashley Scottalso recorded a top-20 finish as she placed 18th in 17:58.54.

GOLDEN HURRICANE SPLIT DUELS WITH ORAL ROBERTS
Tulsa competed in a duel against Oral Roberts Sept. 24 and utilized a team of youngsters. The men defeated the Golden Eagles by a score of 19-38, while the women were narrowly edged by ORU's A team 27-29. Freshman Aaron Thornburg paced the men, winning the 5K event in a time of 16:36.58. TU had five of the top six finishers. Freshman Larissa Erickson finished second overall and was tops on the women's team in a time of 11:39.60. Fellow freshman Lauren Collettewas third in 11:40.21.

TULSA ROLLS OVER HOUSTON IN DUEL
The Golden Hurricane competed in a duel against Houston after the Missouri Southern Stampede was rained out. The men dropped the Cougars 23-38, and the women won by a score of 16-47. Senior Paulo Pinheiro won the four-mile event with a career-best time of 19:05. Tulsa took eight of the top 10 positions. The women recorded the top four finishers and had seven of the top 10. Senior Paula Whiting won the event with a personal-best time of 10:49. She narrowly defeated freshman teammate Natasha Cockram, who also clocked in at 10:49.

WHITING DOMINATES SEASON-OPENING HURRICANE FESTIVAL
Paula Whiting kicked off her senior campaign with a dominating effort at the season-opening Hurricane Festival Sept. 3. She won the two-mile event by 23 seconds in a personal-best time of 10:55. Junior Sarah Macpherson placed fourth in a career-best 11:21. Freshmen Natasha Cockram and Janessa Dunn crossed the line next for TU in seventh and ninth, respectively. Redshirt freshman Lauren Collette placed 13th and true freshman Larissa Erickson placed 17th. The TU women finished 4-1 in the duels. The men used an experience group and finished 1-2 in the duels. Freshman Tim Rackers paced TU with his seventh-place finish. Sophomore James Keilbarth, redshirt freshman Brian Tabb and sophomore Austin Cookson finished in 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively. Freshman Aaron Thornburg placed 15th in 21:42 to round out the team scoring. Junior Derek Eidt placed 20th in 22:11 and redshirt freshman Seth Marshwas 21st in 22:12.

MEN ENTER NATIONAL RANKS
The Tulsa men vaulted into the USTFCCCA national cross country coaches' poll after their performance at NCAA Pre-Nationals. The men checked in at No. 27 after receiving votes the week prior. The women had been receiving votes all year, but they fell out of the national polls for the first time this season.

MEN MOVE UP TO NO. 4 IN MIDWEST REGIONAL RANKINGS
The Tulsa men currently sit at the No. 4 spot in the most recent USTFCCCA Midwest Region polls released October 25. The Golden Hurricane is ranked behind Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Minnesota. The women are currently slotted at No. 12 in the Midwest Region.

MEN'S TEAM SPORTS LARGEST ROSTER IN GULLEY ERA
The Tulsa men have 27 runners this year, and coach Steve Gulley is sporting his largest roster for the second-straight year (the team had 26 runners in 2010). The five seniors on the 2011 squad are Brad Harris, Tom Marshall, Bill Martin, Paulo Pinheiro and Carl Stones. There are also six juniors, six sophomores and 10 freshmen.

MEN RETURN SEVEN ALL-CONFERENCE RUNNERS
Tulsa welcomes back seven all-C-USA performers from last years squad, highlighted by First Team members senior Carl Stones and junior Chris O'Hare. Stones is a three-time all-conference performer, as he was also named to the Third Team in 2008 and `09. O'Hare was named to the Second Team in 2009. Four members of the squad made the Second Team in 2010, and they all return this year. They are senior Tom Marshall and juniors Geraint Davies, Mitch Johnson and Sam Masters. Senior Paulo Pinheirowas named to the Third Team in his first year with the Golden Hurricane.

WOMEN BRING BACK THREE ALL-CONFERENCE PERFORMERS
TU returns three all-conference honorees from last season, including all-C-USA First-Team member senior Paula Whiting. Whiting was the runner up at the Conference USA Championship last year, and she was also named to the Second Team her sophomore year. Junior Jaclyn Rollins was named to the all-C-USA Second Team last season, and fellow junior Ashley Scottlanded on the Third Team.

WOMEN REACH NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP FOR FIRST TIME IN 2010
The Tulsa women competed as a team at the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history a year ago, finishing the competition as the 30th-best team in the nation. The women who competed were senior Paula Whiting, juniors Jaclyn Rollins, Ashley Scott and Erin Huddleston, sophomore Josie Wilcoxand former TU student-athletes Melanie Cleland and Jacqueline Fairchild.

WOMEN FINISH FOURTH AT NCAA MIDWEST REGIONAL, MEN PLACE SIXTH IN 2010
The TU women finished fourth at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship in Peoria, Ill., last year. This was the highest finish in school history. Senior Paula Whitingfinished third individually, which tied for the best finish in school history at the event. The men's sixth-place finish was the third-lowest regional finish in school history, and the team has finished in the top eight at Regionals in each of the last five years. All seven men who ran at Regionals posted their personal-best times in the 10K.

TULSA DOUBLES UP AT 2010 CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP
The Golden Hurricane took home both the men's and women's Conference USA Championships last year. The TU programs smoked the competition and became just the third school in C-USA history to win both titles on the same day. The men defeated second-place UTEP by a score of 34-40 for their second trophy in three years, while the women's side topped Rice 27-57 for their first Conference USA crown. The 30-point victory over the Owls was the third-largest margin of victory in conference history.