Aug 29, 2013
BEAUMONT – The Lamar men’s and women’s cross country teams are looking for strong opening meet on Friday evening as they head to Lake Charles for the McNeese Relays.
The men, who saw their run of six consecutive Southland titles halted by the Cowboys last fall, will get their first opportunity to match-up against their rivals to the east. Three duos are set to star for the Cards, beginning with the team’s Irish contingent of Chris Jones and Ryan Creech. Jones, a native of Dublin, is entering his final season in the Red and White, and Creech will be looking to build on a strong first two seasons that included a third place finish at the LSU Cross Country Festival last year. Welshman Michael Kershaw and Englishman Ash Harrell make up group two. The former is looking to establish a role in the line-up after appearing in three meets a year ago, and the latter missed all of 2012 due to injury. The final group will be a pair of newcomers in Sean Chalmers of Scotland and Sean Guiney of Australia.
Matt Jackson, a graduate student out of Warrington, England, will also participate.
On the women’s side, Kaitlynn Warren is the lone returner after appearing in five events in 2012, and she’s set to team with a fellow Texan in Belinda Aguilar of Alice. The other two teams will boast of international flair as Texans Megan Flanagan and Rachel Davee will work with Australian Kayla de Bondt and Brit Leigh Lattimore, respectively.
Both the Lamar men and women enter the 2013 season ranked as the top Southland team by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The men came in at fourth in the South Central region, trailing SEC powers in Arkansas and Texas A&M as well as Texas of the Big XII. The women are ranked seventh.
The meet, which will feature also Louisiana, offers a chance for cross country coach Darren Gauson to get a feel for his team as the Cards prepare for their first competitive meet of the season at Rice next month.
“This is a chance for some of our team to put on the uniform for the first time in an NCAA meet,” Gauson said. “It’s kind of a soft opener because it allows the athletes to shake out any cobwebs or nervousness as we get ready for a more serious meet at Rice. We’re looking for the squad to be competitive, and I’m excited to see the team out there.”
The McNeese Relays will begin at 6 p.m. at the Ward 3 Multisports Complex.