Oct. 11, 2008
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
The Stephen F. Austin cross country teams will get their final tune-up for the championship portion of their season when SFA hosts the Southland Conference pre-conference championship meet. The meet is scheduled for Monday at Piney Woods Country Club and is the final competition slated for the Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks before next month's SLC Championships, which will also be held at Piney Woods.
Monday's meet will feature four teams, but only three from the Southland Conference ranks. Along with SFA, Northwestern State, Central Arkansas and Arkansas-Little Rock will take part in the meet. The women's 6,000-meter race is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m., followed by the men's 8,000-meter run at 9:15.
SFA is coming off a solid performance against a tough national field at last weekend's Auburn Tiger Invitational. The Ladyjacks, running against a field that included three of the top 30 teams in the nation, finished eighth as a team with 234 points. In the men's race, SFA posted a 10th-place showing with a team score of 303 points.
"Up front, we were impressive on both sides," SFA head coach Lou Snelling said. "We had some really good individual performances that I was really proud of."
The meet at Auburn marked the end of the first seven-week training cycle of the season for SFA. But, according to Snelling, there's not much difference in that training block and how his teams are working now, with the SLC Championships still nearly a month away.
"Now we're transitioning into the next block of training, which takes us through the championship portion of our season," the coach said. "For the most part, that doesn't mean a whole lot in terms of changing what we're dong. We're at peak mileage for this point in the year, and we'll stay there for a few more weeks before we bring it down."
That means no backing off the intensity leading up to Monday's pre-conference meet.
"This meet is not about the competition at all," Snelling said. "It's about us preparing for the conference championships and doing all the things that are important to do before we step on the line there."
The coach added that he really hoped to turn the course at Piney Woods into an advantage for his team.
"This is a place that we train quite a bit," he said. "We've been doing that for years now. We're very comfortable in this challenging setting, whereas some schools might not be, so that's very exciting. That's the main reason that we're hosting this meet. We'll get a lot of feedback from racing on the course Monday, so we can really fine-tune our plan going into the conference championships."
The SLC Championships are scheduled for Nov. 3. This will mark the second time in three years for SFA to host the league cross country championships.
-- SFA --