IRVING -- The Big 12 Conference office has chosen Texas A&M junior David Hebert as the men's cross country runner of the week based on his performance in leading the Aggies to a fifth consecutive team title during the Texas A&M Invitational this past weekend.
Hebert, from Weatherford, Texas, ran a personal best of 24:18 over the 8,000-meter course, lowering his previous best of 24:59, while placing third in the competition. It marks the first time for Hebert to receive the conference honor.
With the team victory at the Invitational the Aggies improved one spot to No 3 in the South Central Region poll and received votes for the national top 25 poll.
In defeating Lamar, 42-54, Texas A&M switched positions with the Cardinals in the regional poll. The top 10 men's rankings in the South Central region for this week include: 1. Arkansas; 2. Texas; 3. Texas A&M; 4. Lamar; 5. Baylor; 6. Stephen F. Austin; 7. LSU; 8. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi; 9. North Texas; 10. Texas-Arlington.
"A home win is always a great thing for the books," Hebert noted after the meet on Saturday. "The team did really well and I think we're setting ourselves up for some great things for the season."
In leading the field during a majority of the 8K race on A&M's Penberthy Intramural fields Saturday, Hebert offered a challenge to defending champion Festus Kigen of TCU as well as Lamar's Francis Kasagule, an individual NCAA qualifier last season.
"I was really trying not to lead it for as long as I did the last time we raced," Hebert explained. "I thought going out like I did at Baylor really helped the TCU guy out a lot. He just fed off me the whole time, I could tell.
"So, this time I started out a little easier in trying to stay behind him, but the whole pack went out too easy. It felt a little slow for the first two miles. My strategy was to hang back a little bit this time and not try to lay it all out in the first couple of miles. But in that last mile they still just had a little more than I did."
At the end of the A&M Invitational it was Kasagule winning in 24:11 with Tegen second at 24:15. Hebert claimed third for the second time this season behind the duo, with a six-second gap separating the trio during the Baylor Twilight Invitational at the end of August.
The three runners will meet again, at least one more time, when NCAA qualifying is on the line during the South Central Region meet in Fayetteville during the early part of November.
"I'm just going to keep on gunning for them," Hebert said. "I just need to work a little harder in practice and hopefully I'll get them in the next race."
Next for the Texas A&M cross country team is a trip to South Bend, Indiana, where the Aggies compete in the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday afternoon on the campus golf course. The race will feature top 25 teams in both the men's and women's fields.