SFA Takes Southland Honors
Nov. 1, 2012
FRISCO, Texas - Lauren Smith was named the Southland Conference women's athlete of the year for the second consecutive season, Danielle Burchett took newcomer of the year honors and Cody Clark was named the league's women's coach of the year for the 2012 cross country season on Thursday in helping the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks capture their seventh conference title last week.
Smith won her second consecutive individual women's title on Friday in Beaumont, completing the 6,000-meter course in 20:59.1 and becomes just the third Ladyjack to capture the league's athlete of the year in consecutive seasons.
"Lauren has had a great senior season," Clark said. "Hopefully she continues to run well next week at regionals and is able to keep going at nationals."
Burchett, meanwhile, becomes just the second Ladyjack to claim the league's newcomer of the year honor, doing so in her first season as part of the cross country team.
A former mid-distance conference champion in both indoor and outdoor track and field for the Ladyjacks, Burchett joined the cross country team for the 2012 season and was the fourth scorer for SFA at the conference championship, finishing in 15th place and edging a Sam Houston runner by less than a second in what was just a two-point win for the Ladyjacks over the Bearkats.
"We don't win that title last week if it wasn't for Danielle," Clark said. "Each of our scorers were huge, especially when the margin is that close. She was a huge addition to us before the year and she really worked hard and made a big difference to our team this year."
Clark is the fourth fifth SFA coach to claim the women's coach of the year title, and the first since Lou Snelling did so in consecutive seasons in 2009 and 2010. It is his first such award, and comes in just his second year at the helm of the program.
SFA will continue its season on Nov. 9 in Fayetteville, Ark. when the Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks each compete at the NCAA South Central Cross Country Championships.