T&F adds 14 state champions, and a two-time All-American to roster
The 2012 Southland Conference Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year, Cody Clark is in his second season as Stephen F. Austin's cross country coach, as well as working with the men's and women's distance programs during the track and field season. The Merit, Texas, native was a standout distance runner in his five-year career with the Lumberjacks and served three years as an assistant coach under former head cross country coach Lou Snelling. Prior to that, Clark spent one season as the head girl's track and field coach at Waller High School where he led the WHS girls to the District 17-4A title. Upon his coaching return to Nacogdoches, Clark has helped SFA maintain the successful tradition which he helped build during his athletics career. The Ladyjacks won the 2012 Southland Conference Cross Country title, led by senior Lauren Smith who repeated as Southland Conference Athlete of the Year. Clark was named women's conference coach of the year for his team's performance. Following the conference meet, both Smith and Xavier Rodriguez earned NCAA All-Region honors and advanced to the NCAA Championships. It was the first time since 2004 that SFA sent a male and female runner to the NCAA Championships in the same season. The cross country team's success came on the heels of a track and field campaign that saw the SFA men and women produce four individual conference titles, recorded 11 school records and 12 All-SLC performers. Entering his second track and field season with SFA, Clark has coached 17 All-SLC athletes, 11 school records, six SLC individual champions, had three SLC Athletes of the Year, two SLC Outstanding Track Athletes of the Year, two league student-athletes of the year, one conference newcomer of the year and one SLC high-point scorer. As an assistant coach, Clark helped guide a youthful SFA men's and women's cross country team to second-place finishes at the 2008 SLC Cross Country Championships. SFA finished the meet with four All-SLC honors, and Mitch Ownbey and Stephanie Ganter were named SLC Male and Female Freshmen of the year. The Ladyjacks followed that up with another second-place finish in 2009. The SFA distance squads proved their strength during the 2009 track and field seasons. SFA recorded four individual titles, and seven all-conference finishes during the outdoor campaign. All told, the Ladyjack and Lumberjack distance runners recorded five individual titles, 10 all-conference performances, three regional marks, two school records and were key in helping the SFA women bring home both the SLC Indoor and Outdoor titles. Clark won the 2005 SLC Cross Country championship and was named SLC Cross Country Athlete of the Year. He was a three-time All-SLC honoree overall. He was a part of three-straight conference titles in cross country. Clark earned his bachelor's degree in kinesiology from SFA in May 2007 and a master's in secondary education in August 2009.