SFA Shows Well At Regional Meet
Nov. 12, 2011
WACO, Texas - Junior Lauren Smith missed out on an automatic trip to the national meet, finishing eighth overall, and both the Lumberack and Ladyjack cross country teams posted top 10 finishes on Saturday at the NCAA South Central Cross Country meet at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course.
Smith, who was the runaway Southland Conference individual champion, finished the 6,000-meter course in 20:54.5, more than a minute faster than any other competitor from the Southland; however, she came up just one place shy of becoming the first Ladyajck since Ashley Monteau in 2004 to qualify for the NCAA Championships. She still has a chance to be awarded an at-large invitation to the meet, but will not know her fate until Sunday evening.
Three of the top eight finishers in the race belonged to either Texas or Arkansas, the two top finishing teams at the meet whose squads qualified for the NCAA Championships, which left four individual slots open for at-large qualification. Unfortunately for Smith, who earned all-region honors for the first time in her career, TCU's Agnes Kemboi finished two places and 11 seconds ahead of the junior from Lake Jackson for the region's final automatic qualifying slot.
"It's disappointing for Lauren that she didn't advance, but it doesn't take away from any of her hard work or from the fact that she had a great season," SFA head cross country coach Cody Clark said. "She ran well and just came up a little short, but the bright thing is that she is just a junior and will have another chance next season."
Still, as a team the Ladyjacks finished ninth overall and third among the eight Southland conference teams there, including coming in four points ahead of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, who won the SLC title two weeks ago.
"I couldn't be more proud of the girls today with the way they ran," Clark said. "They really grew up and competed today, and that really tells me that we have a lot to look forward to."
Randi Plentl closed out her season with another strong showing, finishing in 26th place in a time of 21:51.3. Laurie Byrd was next in line for the Ladyjacks in 45th place overall with a time of 22:27.0. Becca Blubaugh crossed next for SFA in a time of 23:17.7 for 82nd place, and D'Andrea Rouwtt and Amanda Walters closed out the SFA squad with Rouwtt finishing 138th in 25:18.0 and Walters 142nd in 25:30.6.
The Lumberjack men finished eighth overall, but finished third among Southland Conference schools, scoring 253 total points to finish two points ahead of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi who edged SFA by nine points at the Southland Conference Championships on Oct. 31 in Nacogdoches.
"It was a big goal for us to try and knock off some of the teams that finished ahead of us at conference," Clark said. "We did that in getting past Corpus Christi, so I'm very proud of the guys for that."
After a disappointing showing at the conference meet, Adam Saloom redeemed himself by finishing as the top SFA runner, crossing in the 33rd spot overall and ninth among SLC runners in a time of 32:00.6.
He finished nearly 20 spots ahead of Hunter Russell's 51st-place finish, as the `Jacks bunched their next four runners after Saloom's finish within a 10-place window to round out its scoring. Russell crossed in 32:45.3 and was followed five spots later by Harmon McClanahan's 32:54.0.
Sophomore's Nathan Collier and Jonus Rodriguez closed out the SFA scorers as Collier finished 60th in 32:58.9 and Rodriguez 61st in 33:02.8. Moses Luevano and Ryan Tilotta also competed, with Luevano crossing in 33:08.6 for 65th overall and Tilotta finishing in 34.24.1 for 93rd place.