Lumberjacks Head to Indiana
Sept. 14, 2006
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack cross country team will get its first look this weekend at a course it hopes to run three times this season. The Lumberjacks are headed to Terre Haute, Ind. for Friday's Indiana Intercollegiate. The race is run on the same 8,000-meter course that hosts the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
"This is our first full-distance race of the season," SFA head coach Lou Snelling said. "We're still going to use it as a transition into some of our higher-quality races later in the year. Our whole goal is to get familiar with the course before we head back up for pre-nationals in a month."
The Lumberjacks are scheduled to return to Terre Haute for the Pre-NCAA Championship meet on Oct. 14. SFA hopes to earn a team berth to this season's national championships, set for Nov. 20.
"We've got five fifth-year seniors and a couple of third-year sophomores making the trip, so it's a very experienced group heading up there," Snelling said. "Our veteran guys know about the control factor we need in both practice and racing at this point in the season. They know there are going to be times when we'll go to the well and go after it, but those times are few and far between. It's good to have experienced guys who understand that."
In addition to Friday's race in Indiana, the Lumberjacks will also send a team to College Station, Texas for the Texas A&M Invitational on Saturday. Junior Robert Smith, sophomores Aaron Hohn, Conor Gillen and Gerardo Moreno and freshman Edy Vargas will run in the 8,000-meter race. The high number of quality runners on Snelling's roster led to the split-squad scheduling.
"Because we're so deep this year," Snelling said, "we have a lot of guys who won't be in the top seven or eight for us at conference. But they're still extremely fit, right now, and need to have the opportunity to get out and race. Our approach in that race will be the same as at Indiana. We hope to get the same transition training benefit out of it."
Snelling is pleased, so far, with the progress his team has made this season.
"Things are looking great in practice, right now," the coach said. "We're extremely fit. Everybody came in fit from the summer. We have been bringing the volume up steadily, and we're starting to raise the intensity a hair."
On the women's side, SFA is enjoying a long break between competitions, following its first scoring meet of the season last week at the Rice Invitational. The Ladyjacks carried a small team to the race and finished fifth overall with three runners placing in the Top 25, individually. The SFA women will not compete again until the Auburn Invitational on September 30.
"Right now, the girls are in that great three-week period before their next race," Snelling said. "We're using that time as a transition from the aerobic training that we do in the summer toward the more intense training we use to sharpen our race fitness before we go out to Auburn."
-- SFA --