Lumberjacks 21st at Pre-Nationals
Oct. 14, 2006
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack cross country team finished 21st in the White Race at Saturday's NCAA Pre-Nationals meet, hosted by Indiana State. Competing in a race field that included 12 teams ranked among the Top 30 programs in the nation, the Lumberjacks finished shy of their Top 10 goal, leaving the prospects of earning an at-large bid to this year's NCAA Championships looking unlikely.
"The big thing is, at a meet like this, you can't have an average day and expect to do as well as you want to," SFA cross country coach Lou Snelling said. "That's basically what we did. We didn't have a bad day, it was just pretty average, and we got average results because of it."
The Lumberjacks' top two runners turned in strong showings, as seniors Marc Farris and Julian Acuna both finished in the Top 65. Farris, a two-time Southland Conference athlete of the week this season, finished 55th with a time of 24:31. That effort improved on his previous time on the NCAA course by nearly 1:14. Acuna, running in his first competitive race of the year after working through some early-season injuries, took 63rd with a time of 24:35.
"Marc ran very solid," Snelling said. "Julian stepped up for his first race of the year and ran very well."
Senior Chance Edwards was the next Lumberjack across the line, finishing 122nd with a time of 25:02. Senior Rodney Joseph took 149th with a time of 25:14, and sophomore Teddy Fanta was the fifth SFA runner to finish, turning in a time of 25:29 to take 171st place.
The field for the Pre-Nationals meet is divided into two races, with teams placed in either race by the luck of the draw. That luck went against the Lumberjacks on Saturday, as the field in the White Race set an early pace more brisk than the SFA runners would have liked.
"Our race went out really fast with much less control than the other race," Snelling said. "That isn't really our game, so it wasn't the best thing for us."
With the Pre-Nationals race in their wake, the Lumberjacks' best shot at earning an NCAA bid is now the NCAA Regional Championships. The South Central Championships are scheduled for Nov. 11, in Waco, Texas.
"Our finish today places more emphasis on the regional championships and what we need to do there," Snelling said.
First, the Lumberjacks need to take care of business at the Southland Conference Championships. The conference meet, hosted by five-time defending champion SFA this season, is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 27, at Pecan Acres Park, in Nacogdoches.
-- SFA --