Nov. 15, 2013
WACO, Texas – Cross country season came to an end on Friday for the Stephen F. Austin men’s and women’s teams seeing the men post an impressive fourth-place finish at the NCAA South Central Regional Championship. The women came in 13th place to close the year.
The men’s team had three runners earn All-Region honors by finishing in the top 25 at the region race. Sophomore Cody Brown led the way for SFA finishing in 19th place with a time of 30:56.1 over the 10k course. Freshman Anthony Gallardo was next for the Lumberjacks clocking in at 31:03.0 in 21st place. Sophomore Nick Guerra was the final All-Region finisher for SFA as he finished 25th in 31:09.3.
“They did a great job. They showed up. Colby Mehmen and Michael Barnett really stepped up to help get that fourth place finish,” said head coach Cody Clark. “This is our best men’s team finish since 2003, and in 2003 we were first so I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
All five of SFA’s runners that counted toward team scoring finished in the top 50 for the men thanks to the efforts of Mehmen and Barnett mentioned by Clark. Those performances gave the men a team score of just 154 points. The fourth-place finish put the men ahead of three teams ranked higher in the region heading into the race, Texas A&M, Rice and North Texas.
Clark said he was happy with the outcome for the men and is excited about the potential the team has with all five of the top finishers being freshmen or sophomores for the Lumberjacks.
“I’m really pleased. I can’t say much more than how excited we are about what we have moving forward,” Clark said. “After last year, this year was supposed to be a rebuilding year losing some of our top runners. The future is very bright for us.”
SFA’s women came away 13th from the regional championship with Laurie Byrd posting the top finish for the Ladyjacks. Byrd placed 55th overall with a time of 22:16.5 over the 6k course. Rebecca Blubaugh and Shelby Pesek were not far behind Byrd in 61st and 62nd place for the women.
“The women’s race went out fast. Laurie gambled and went with it and eventually ran out of gas,” Clark said. “On the women’s side there are a lot of good teams. When Texas has the top finisher and gets fourth in the region, it’s a lot tougher on the women. We will use this as a learning experience. They’re young as well, and that helps that they’re going to be able to develop.”
- SFA -