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    Ladyjacks Win Memphis Twilight
    The Ladyjacks won the Memphis Twilight Classic on Saturday
    The Ladyjacks won the Memphis Twilight Classic on Saturday

    Sept. 25, 2010

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - FThe Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack cross country team turned in a dominant performance Saturday at the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic, putting all five scoring runners in the top 18 to win the meet with a team score of 60 points.

    The Memphis Twilight is billed as the largest night-time cross country meet in the nation. This year's event featured 32 teams on the women's side. SFA finished ahead of Eastern Kentucky, Alabama-Birmingham and Auburn to win its first meet of the season.

    "We knew we were going to be competitive going in," SFA coach Lou Snelling said. "But this was our first race of the season, and most of these teams had one or two races under their belt. We knew we weren't sharp and that might hurt us a little bit, but to have our top five do what they did is really impressive for this point in the season."

    Junior Stephanie Ganter led the way for SFA finishing sixth with a time of 17:42 on the 5,000-meter course. She was trailed two spots and three seconds later by sophomore transfer Lauren Smith. Senior Megan Jenkins took 11th with a time of 17:56. Sophomore Randi Wymer finished 17th in 18:18 and senior Amy Shackelford took 18th with a time of 18:19.

    "We talked about getting a good balanced start where we were out and competitive but not overcommitted," Snelling said. "I think we did a good job of that. We definitely got a good position early and didn't give it up as we went.

    "I'm very happy with Megan and Randi," Snelling continued. "They put themselves in good spots and just moved up progressively. Megan ran under 18, and Randi was just a shade over 18. You expect Stephanie and Lauren to do what they did, and Megan and Randi really stepped up for us."

    All eight SFA competitors finished inside the top 50. Senior Marie Flores took 26th, finishing in 18:37. Classmate Meredith Blocker's time of 18:56 was good enough for 45th, and true freshman Becca Blubaugh took 49th with a time of 19:02. Freshman Laurie Byrd ran unattached and finished 35th with a time of 18:46.

    The SFA men put three runners in the top 25 and finished fifth as a team, one point behind fourth-place Auburn with a total score of 123 points.

    Senior Dennis Yeats paced the team with a 12th-place time of 24:46 on the 8,000-meter course. Junior Mitch Ownbey was the next Lumberjack across the line taking 16th with a time of 24:52. Classmate Xavier Rodriguez finished 25th with a time of 25:06.

    Juniors Adam Saloom and Harmon McClanahan rounded out the SFA scoring runners, finishing 31st and 47th, respectively. Junior Logan Smart was 54th with a time of 25:45.

    "We had four guys in uniform who were under 25:15," Snelling said. "For this point in the season, we've got to be happy with that for sure."

    Redshirt freshman Nathan Collier was 78th, finishing in 26:12, and classmate Jonus Rodriguez took 93rd with a time of 26:26. True freshman Moses Luevano finished 24th running unattached. He posted a time of 25:06.

    "Our top five guys all ran smart races," Snelling said. "We didn't get caught up in the front because we're just not ready to do that yet. The pace just hammered up front, and that's not our game at this point in the season. We made good choices and stayed focused through the middle with very even splits. I feel like we'll be better in two weeks. This next race will be a little bit sharper."

    The Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks will next compete on Oct. 8 in the Florida State Invitational.

    "It was a good solid opener for both sides, and I'm excited about where we can go in two weeks and moving forward to the end of the season," Snelling said.

    -- SFA --

      COMING SOON