Nov. 14, 2013
BEAUMONT - After taking home a pair of Southland Conference Championships, the Lamar men's and women's cross country teams will look to continue the success on Friday as both are set to compete at the NCAA South Central Regional in Waco.
Fresh off of earning the Southland's Athlete of the Year award, Matt Johnsen looks to be the headliner at the regional event once again. Last year, the senior out of Broulee, Australia, placed 10th to earn a third consecutive trip to the NCAA National Championships, where he placed 33rd and earned All-American honors.
"Individually, I just have to do what I have been doing," Johnsen said. "If I trust in the process, it will all work out. We all have to trust in each other a s team as well, and if with the talent that we have, we have the potential to put ourselves in a good position to make history."
The men will also look to be carried by Ash Harrell. A graduate student out of England, the Dereham native placed second at the Southland meet, earning Newcomer of the Year honors.
Sam Stabler and Ryan Creech each posted All-Southland campaigns, and Mike Kershaw took home an honorable mention. Ryan Saunders is also slated to compete after missing much of the season due to injury.
Leigh Lattimore is poised to carry the torch for the women's team after a second place finish at the Southland Championships. The England native took home Newcomer of the Year honors, and finished fifth at the Notre Dame Invitational, which featured a number of national cross country powers.
"I'm pretty nervous, but I'm looking forward to it," Lattimore said. "I try to prepare the same for every race so that nothing is different for me at a big meet. Once I get to the line, I just try to focus and run with the girls at the front and hopefully it'll help me make it to the national meet."
Joining her on the women's squad will be the trio of Claire Arnold, Rachel Robinson and Louise Webb. All earned a spot on the All-Southland team, and Kayla de Bondt wasn't far off, taking home an honorable mention.
Friday's races are set to begin with the men's 10,000-meter event at 10 a.m. and conclude with the 6,000-meter women's race at 11:15. Both teams are looking to earn a trip to the national meet for the first time in school history.