Texas Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani(27) and Chiaka Ogbogu(11) celebrate a point against Purdue during the second round of the NCAA volleyball tournament at Gregory Gym in Austin, Texas Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. (Stephen Spillman for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Texas sports notebook: Longhorns runners prep for Big 12 meet in Pennsylvania

Posted October 13th, 2016

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This weekend, Texas will be running on Eastern Standard Time.

Texas’ cross-country teams will compete at the Penn State Open on Friday. The races, which cover six kilometers for the women and 5.2 miles for the men, will be the Longhorns’ final tune-up before the Big 12 championship on Oct. 29. The Longhorns will get a feel of the Big 12 field this weekend as Oklahoma State is sending its nationally-ranked men’s and women’s squads to Pennsylvania, while West Virginia’s women also will be there.

“We’re throwing a really good group of guys at (Oklahoma State) and I know they’re going to do the same, because they don’t want to lose to us and we want to beat them,” sophomore Alex Rogers said. “All I can think of them is they’re the sheep and we’re the lion, and we’re going to go get them.”

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Expect the Longhorns to compete with a pack mentality. At the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 30, the men and women placed 13th and 16th. The five Longhorns who earned points for the women finished within 13 seconds of each other, while that five-runner gap was less than 58 seconds on the men’s side.

“Pack running has become a really big thing this year,” said senior Sandie Raines, who was sidelined by pneumonia for the Notre Dame Invitational. “That’s what we’ve really been pushing in workouts, is to work with each other (and) to motivate each other to run faster. I think the pack was good at Notre Dame, but we’ve been really focusing on moving that up and running faster.”

Winning ways in Waco: The volleyball team traveled 100 miles to Waco for a Wednesday win over Baylor, a 3-1 triumph that moved Texas’ all-time record vs. the Bears to 78-2. Baylor’s last victory against Texas? A five-set conquest on Oct. 27, 2001.

Sophomore Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani had a career-high nine blocks in Wednesday’s win (three of which were solo), while teammates Morgan Johnson and Paulina Prieto Cerame each had five blocks (one of Prieto Cerame’s rejections was a solo stuff). As a team, Baylor was credited with three blocks.

Texas (14-2, 6-0 Big 12) host TCU next Wednesday.

Must-win in Iowa: While the football team hosts Iowa State on Saturday, those schools will meet in soccer on Friday in Ames. Texas and TCU are the only teams without a win in Big 12 play, so the Longhorns (7-6-1, 0-3-1 Big 12) need a victory with only four matches left in the regular season. (Eight of the Big 12’s nine teams will make the season-ending tournament).

Texas’ two leading scorers from last year — sophomore forwards Alexa Adams and Mikayla Flores — both have suffered season-ending knee injuries this fall, and Texas has seen its 24 total goals split between 10 different players. That spread-it-out offense will attempt to solve Iowa State goalkeeper Lindsey Hendon, whose seven shutouts have tied a school record.

In its all-time series with Iowa State, Texas is 20-2-1.

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