A few years ago, Robert Uhr lined up for a 400-meter race against a fellow fourth-grader in Lockhart.
A fifth-grade student named Nate Moore stepped forward to place a bet on Uhr — “It was probably his lunch or something,” Uhr recalled — and Uhr paid that gamble off with a win. Flash forward, and Moore and Uhr are two seniors attempting to lead Texas to its first-ever win at the Big 12 cross country meet.
The Big 12’s best will run in Lubbock on Saturday. Oklahoma State’s men have won the last eight conference titles.
“It would be nice to take down that streak,” Uhr said. “We’re the underdogs, I guess, and they’re them, Oklahoma State.”
Uhr and Moore were teammates on Lockhart High’s cross-country and track teams. But because of injuries and a redshirt season for Uhr, this is the first year that the two former Lions have routinely run together as Longhorns.
Uhr was Texas’ top finisher at the Penn State National Open on Oct. 14, and he had Texas’ second-best finish at the Notre Dame Invitational in September. Moore had UT’s fourth best time at the same meet.
“Ever since our first year of running together, we’ve just been pushing each other,” Moore said. “I give a lot of credit to him for being able to make it to this high of a level, and he gives a lot of credit to me. There’s a little bit of smack-talking here and there, but it’s definitely kind of like a brotherly-type of competition.”
As for the most-important question for two boys from Lockhart: Which place in their hometown serves the best BBQ?
Moore and Uhr both settled on Smitty’s Market. Moore said a half-dozen of his Texas teammates recently made the pilgrimage to Smitty’s to see what the fuss was all about.
“Showed them what some real BBQ is, so I could stop hearing them talk about Rudy’s,” Moore said. “All of them agreed it was the best BBQ they’d ever had.”
Searching for gold: The Texas women also are running for their first Big 12 title this weekend.
Texas coach Brad Herbster expects senior Sandie Raines to contend for an individual title in her 6,000-kilometer race on Saturday. Raines won gold at the Texas Invitational on Sept. 16, and bounced back from a bout with pneumonia with a sixth-place finish at the Penn State Open.
It comes down to this: Senior goalkeeper Paige Brown was named the Big 12’s defensive player of the week on Monday. Brown shut out Texas Tech last week and then limited West Virginia — the nation’s top-ranked team — to a single goal.
Texas closes out its regular season with a road match at TCU on Friday. Texas and TCU are tied for seventh place in the Big 12 standings with 1-5-1 records in conference play. Only eight teams are invited to the Big 12 tournament, so the Longhorns and Horned Frogs are attempting to hold off ninth-place Texas Tech (1-6).
Texas Tech, which lost to TCU and Texas, plays fourth-place Oklahoma on Friday.