Ladyjack Cross Country Heads to Rice
Sept. 8, 2006
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack cross country squad is set to compete Saturday at the Rice Invitational in Houston. The race will be SFA's first traditional format competition of the year. SFA's cross country squads began the season last week with the Lumberjack Opener, a non-scoring relay-style meet held at Pecan Acres Park in Nacogdoches.
"This weekend is basically a transition to the more serious racing that we will do later in the year," SFA cross country coach Lou Snelling said. "We aren't running a full team, but for those who are running, this will help them prepare for some of our bigger meets, like our trip to Auburn at the end of the month."
At last week's Lumberjack Opener, the Ladyjacks did not set a tough pace, using the contest more as a practice than a race. The team of Amber Bagwell and LaKoa McKeever posted the best time for SFA, completing the 4,000-meter course in a time of 30:34.65. Kimbri Lettkeman and Katrina Nicholas teamed up for a time of 31:09.35, and Elese Dawson and Megan Williams shared a time of 32:11.76.
"It was just a workout for us," Snelling said. "The whole goal was to go out and negative split our 2k legs, meaning that we wanted the girls to run their second intervals faster than their first. The girls did a great job, and we got a great workout in."
Snelling said his team's performance in the opener and in the days that followed showed him that the squad is at the appropriate fitness level for this time of year.
"They had a good day," the coach said. "I think what really showed our level of fitness was that we were able to come back and have a whole week of solid training, back-to-back. That shows me that Friday's race didn't really take too much out of them."
Saturday's race, a 4,000-meter course, is set to start at 8:20 a.m.
The Lumberjacks will have the weekend off before resuming their schedule next week. SFA's men will compete in a split-squad weekend with half the runners heading to Terre Haute, Ind. for the Indiana Intercollegiate, and the other half traveling to College Station, Texas for the Texas A&M Invitational. The Indiana Intercollegiate is one of three trips to Terre Haute -- the home of the NCAA Cross Country Championships -- that Snelling hopes the Lumberjacks will get to make. SFA is scheduled to run the Pre-Nationals race there in October and is gunning for a team bid to the national championships at the end of the season.
"The whole idea with the guys next weekend is similar to what we're doing with the girls, this weekend," Snelling said. "We're transitioning into serious races. It's going to be a little more of a tempo effort. It should be a faster race, but still controlled. In Indiana, we're getting a look at the national championship course, which is also the course used for pre-nats. It will be good for us to see the course before we get into those type of very important meets."
-- SFA --