Reigning SLC champion Lauren Smith and the rest of the SFA cross country teams reported for practice on Wednesday.
Aug. 15, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin cross country teams reported for duty on Wednesday with a large contingent of new faces and optimism in place for head coach Cody Clark's troops with less than three weeks to go before the first competition of the year.
"We are excited to have everyone back in town and on campus," Clark said. "Everyone has done a good job with their training in the off-season and seem to be in shape and ready to go."
More than 20 athletes checked in on Wednesday with training set to commence on Thursday morning, including six returning lettermen on the men's side and five on the women's side. With that type of experience, along with three seniors back for each squad, Clark should have plenty of leadership to turn to as well.
"It's nice to have the experience back that we have," Clark said. "That should help with our consistency from week to week, as well as provide a good example for the large group of youngsters we have with us too."
The Ladyjacks ran with just six athletes in 2011, but will have a much deeper squad this season, led by reining Southland Conference individual champion Lauren Smith, while the men could be poised to make a big move in the league with two of the top runners in the SLC - Xavier Rodriguez and Adam Saloom - back to anchor the squad.
The teams will have 15 days to train together before their first scheduled competition, the Cardinal Relays in Beaumont, a location which will serve as the location for this year's Southland Conference championships.
"We've certainly got a lot to work to do to get to where we want to be, but that will be the case throughout the season," Clark said. "Our goal is to be running our fastest at the end of the season and we will begin that journey together on Thursday."