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    SFA Set To Open Season
    SFA opens the 2009 season Friday in the Islander Relays
    SFA opens the 2009 season Friday in the Islander Relays

    Sept. 3, 2009

    NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin cross country teams will begin their season Friday when they compete in the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islander Relays. The meet will be held in West Guth Park in Corpus Christi and is scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m. with the women's race.

    The Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks reported for the fall semester on Aug. 20th and have spent the last two weeks preparing for the 2009 campaign.

    "Everybody had a good summer, almost all the way across the board," SFA head coach Lou Snelling said. "Everybody got in the mileage they needed, and we reported with a high level of fitness right from the start, which is always the goal."

    The teams will test their fitness in a competitive arena for the first time on Friday. The races are set up in a relay format with the athletes competing in teams of two. The women's race will consist of six course circuits each of a different length. The relay pairs will alternate running a 1,200-meter, 1,500-meter and 1,600-meter loop for a total course length of 8,600 meters. In the men's race, there will be four circuits of 3,200 meters each for a total distance of 12,800 meters.

    The West Guth Park course SFA will race on Friday is the same one to be used at this year's Southland Conference Championships, hosted by A&M-Corpus. The Islanders hosted the SLC meet at the same site two years ago, but roster turnover in the interim has taken away most of the SFA runners who participated in that meet.

    "The big thing with this race is this is our opportunity to see the course," Snelling said. "About half our girls have been on this course collegiately and just one of our men. It's important for us to see the course and get a good feel for it early on. Then we can have that in the back of our minds as we continue the season."

    -- SFA --