SFA Cross Country Set For NCAA Regionals
Nov. 9, 2007
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - With nearly 70 percent of his roster made up of sophomores and freshmen, Stephen F. Austin cross country coach Lou Snelling has been watching the 2007 season with one eye on the present and the other on the future. Two weeks ago, at the Southland Conference Championships, those views intersected when four underclassmen cracked the top five for the Ladyjacks and true freshman Dennis Yeats was the first man across the line for the Lumberjacks.
Saturday, Snelling will get this season's look at the future of his teams when SFA competes in the NCAA South Central Regional Championships. The meet will be held in Fayetteville, Ark. The men's 10,000-meter race is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. with the women's 6,000-meter race to follow at 11:15.
The regional meet is the final competition before the NCAA Championships on Nov. 19. The top two teams from each region qualify for the national championships, as do the top four individual runners who are not part of a qualifying team.
"This meet features the best teams in our region, so you have all the top teams from Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas going after it," Snelling said. "Dealing with that level of competition and competing in this environment is an awesome experience, especially for our runners who have never been to this meet before."
That group includes three of the top five SFA women, who finished third as a team, at the SLC Championships. Redshirt freshmen Amy Shackelford and Megan Jenkins, along with true freshman Meredith Blocker, scored points for the Ladyjacks. Sophomore Chelsea Bradford also cracked the top five. Fifth-year senior Katrina Nicholas led the pack with a seventh-place finish that marked the second all-conference performance of her cross country career.
In the men's race, Yeats' No. 18 finish got top billing. He was followed by juniors Gerardo Moreno, Aaron Hohn and Cole Hollingsworth. Redshirt freshman Elliot Starcevich was the fifth Lumberjack to finish as he recorded his best 8,000-meter time of the season to help SFA take fourth.
"That performance by our young runners was great to see," Snelling said of the conference championship performance. "I'm excited about this meet, obviously, but also the future, with what we can achieve after we gain some more fitness and experience.
"In this race Saturday, we're looking to gain experience for when we come back to this meet in the future with bigger expectations."
-- SFA --