Pair Of 'Jacks Ready For Nationals

Xavier Rodriguez and Lauren Smith will compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

Nov. 16, 2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Stephen F. Austin will be sending representatives to the NCAA Cross Country Championship for the first time since 2004 on Friday when Xavier Rodriguez and Lauren Smith go up against the best of the nation's best on Saturday.

The meet will take place at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky., with the women's 6,000-meter race scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. CT and the men's 10,000-meter trek slated to kick off at 12:15 p.m. CT. Each of the races will be streamed live at

"We are already proud of what Xavier and Lauren have accomplished this season, and making it to nationals has been a goal for them throughout their careers," cross country coach Cody Clark said. "This is going to be an amazing experience for both of them and we are confident they will represent SFA and the Southland Conference well."

Rodriguez and Smith are the first SFA runners to qualify for the national meet since Julian Acuna (2004) and Ashley Monteau (2005). Monteau currently holds the top finish for a Ladyjack at the national meet with a 75th-place finish in 2004, while Mike Thompson's 35th-place finish in 2003 currently has him as the lone all-America runner in program history.

Smith kept alive a stellar year with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA South Central Regional meet in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday and will need to finish in the top 40 in the nation to become the first all-American Ladyjack. Rodriguez edged his way to Louisville as the last qualifier out of the South Central Region, finishing in 11th place but qualified as the fourth individual after seven of the runners ahead of him were automatically advanced due to their teams finishing in the top two at the meet.



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