Lamar Men Win Southland Conference Championship
Oct. 27, 2006
NACOGDOCHES - Lamar University placed four runners among the top 10 finishers, led by Samuel Kosgei's second place showing, to capture the 43rd Southland Conference men's cross country championship Friday, which was hosted by Stephen F. Austin at Pecan Acres Park.
Kosgei, a freshman from Kapchorwa, Uganda, covered the 8,000-meter course in a time of 24:24. Shadrack Songok of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi won the race by a mere four one-hundredths of a second as he crossed the finish line in 24:20.
Francis Kasagule, a freshman from Gayhza, Uganda, finished third for the Cardinals in a time of 24:30. Frank Bwambale, a sophomore from Nakifuma, Uganda who transferred to Lamar when the University of New Orleans suspended its program, placed fifth with a 25:21 clocking.
"Those three new guys are ultimate team guys," head coach Trey Clark said. "They work with everybody, they encourage everybody and they bring a refreshing, positive spirit to the team. They gave hope to some guys that didn't feel like they were capable of performing. I think the attitude they brought to the table has rubbed off on the team and was instrumental in this team winning the championship. To me, a great athlete is someone who elevates their teammates, and those three guys have done that."
Danny Shaw, a junior from Wellington, New Zealand, finished sixth in a time of 25:23. He posted a third place finish at last year's SLC championships.
"Danny was really the key to the whole performance for the team.," Clark said. "Where he finished would either give Aaron (Brannen) a chance to perform, or not. Danny did a great job. He beat people that coming in, a lot of people didn't think he'd beat. He was really the key to the championship, and with him doing what he did, gave Aaron a chance to finish the deal."
Aaron Brannen, a freshman from Bridge City, finished in 21st place in a time of 26:35. Also running for the Cardinals were Ben McBride, a senior from Fannett, who finished 36th with a 27:34 clocking. Randy Becker, a freshman from Bridge City, placed 41st in a time of 27:55. Ewan Simpson, a sophomore from Kincardine, Scotland, finished 42nd with a time of 28:02.
"We've talked for so long about everybody going out and doing their job and run their race," Brannen said. "I just concentrated on running my race, being comfortable and being where I needed to be. I went out there and got where I needed to be and stayed in the race. I knew where SFA's bottom guys were and I knew I had to be no more than 10 spots behind that. I aimed for that, and that's what I did."
"I'm really proud of the way Aaron competed today," Clark added. "You could tell he'd been in pressure situations before and to see a freshman come through in his first conference championship was just awesome to watch."
After placing four among the top 10, Lamar's five runners totaled 37 points to sneak past second place Stephen F. Austin, who totaled 50 points. The Lumberjacks occupied spots eight through 12. This was the Cardinals' sixth SLC championship and first since 1984.
Sam Houston State placed third with 87 points, followed by Texas-Arlington and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, who tied for fourth place with 122 points, Texas State (156), Texas-San Antonio (161), Southeastern Louisiana (230), Central Arkansas (234), McNeese State (286) and Northwestern State (293).
"I'm really proud of the men," Clark said. "Winning your first one as a group is really the most difficult because you have so many obstacles to overcome. Just like the women, they all met their expectations. They all had a good day and some did better than they might have thought they would do."
In addition to their success in the championship race, Kosgei was named SLC newcomer of the year, Kasagule was named freshman of the year, and cross country coach Sita Waru was named coach of the year for both the men and the women.
43rd Southland Conference Men's Cross Country Championship - Nacogdoches, Texas Men's Race - 8,000 meters 1. Shadrack Songok, A&M-Corpus Christi - 24:20 2. Samuel Kosgei, Lamar - 24:24 3. Francis Kasagule, Lamar - 24:30 4. Morten Munkholm, SHSU - 25:17 5. Frank Bwambale, Lamar - 25:21 6. Danny Shaw, Lamar - 25:23 7. Brandon Mosely, SHSU - 25:28 8. Chance Edwards, SFA - 25:32 9. Marc Farris, SFA - 25:50 10. Julian Acuna, SFA - 25:56 21. Aaron Brannen, Lamar - 26:35 37. Ben McBride, Lamar - 27:34 41. Randy Becker, Lamar - 27:55 42. Ewan Simpson, Lamar - 28:02
Team Scoring 1. Lamar University - 37 2. Stephen F. Austin - 50 3. Sam Houston State - 87 4. Texas-Arlington - 122 4 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi - 122 6. Texas State - 156 7. Texas-San Antonio - 161 8. Southeastern Louisiana - 230 9. Central Arkansas - 234 10. McNeese State - 286 11. Northwestern State - 293