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Cross country team claims another title

The men's cross country team won its third league title in the past four years, and senior Eric Ojeda was crowned the individual champion at the Sun Belt Conference Championships in November.

All five UTA point scorers placed among the top 20 as the men finished with a total of 52 points.

The Mavericks went into the final checkpoint (7k) trailing by seven points, but made a huge push over the final 1,000 meters. One of the heroic efforts came from Grayson Birka, who passed five runners, including three from runner-up Appalachian State, in the final 800 meters.

"The men's race was off the charts," UTA coach John Sauerhage says. "It truly was one of the best cross country efforts in UTA history. Our depth won us a championship."

Ojeda netted a time of 25 minutes, 17.8 seconds to win the race by 13 seconds. He was in third place three-quarters through the race before pulling away. As a result, the senior became a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference pick for the second consecutive season.

"Winning the conference race was an amazing experience, and it was made more special by the fact we won as a team," Ojeda says. "It's been a great year and a solid way to finish my senior campaign of cross country with some of my closest friends."

A pair of Mavericks, Christopher Myers and Grant Copeland, were named to the All-Conference second team.

The UTA women, the 2014 conference champs, placed third behind South Alabama and Appalachian State.

Seniors Gabriela Alfonzo earned first-team All-Conference accolades and Katelyn Hayward was awarded second-team All-SBC honors.

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