Nov. 3, 2008
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
The Lamar University men used a record setting performance to claim their third straight Southland Conference Cross Country title in dominant fashion at the Piney Woods Country Club on Monday morning in Nacogdoches, Texas.
The Cardinals, who placed four runners in the top 10 and five in the top 12, used the widest margin of victory in SLC history, and claimed their conference record eighth title in with a 29 point total, 58 points ahead of runner up Stephen F. Austin who had 87 points. The previous best margin of victory was set by Lamar in 1982 when the Cardinals won by 53 points over North Texas.
The championship is also the eighth overall SLC title the Lamar men, putting LU ahead of McNeese State and former SLC member Abilene Christian who each have seven titles. The title is the 10th total in program history, eight in the Southland and two in the American South Conference.
Senior Samuel Kosgei led the way for the LU men, claiming the title with an impressive 24:13 performance over the 8,000 meter course. He is the first Lamar runner to claim the SLC individual title in 24 years since Raphael Colemenares claimed the crown in 1984. He is the first LU runner to win a conference championship since Jonas Lundstrom claimed the American South title in 1989.
Kosgei is just the seventh Lamar University men's runner to claim an individual conference title, joining Gerry Garcia, 1970, Mike Plumb, 1982, Pedro Caceres, 1983, Colemenares, 1984, Ian Mullen, 1988 and Lundstrom in 1989.
"I'm glad we won and I thank God for how well we ran today," Kosgei said. "I'm very happy that I won the Southland Conference championship. This is my senior year and I really wanted it. Last year I was injured and I couldn't stay with the top guys, but today everything went good for me."
Junior Francis Kasagule finished in second place for the second straight year, crossing the finish line in a time of 24:31. Junior Hillary Samoei was the third LU runner to finish, crossing the line in sixth place in a time of 25:29, while senior Frank Bwambale rounded out the top 10 finishers with an eighth place in a time of 25:33. Sophomore Drew Bean finished the scoring for Lamar with a 12th place finish in a time of 25:53.
The top 10 finishes by Kosgei, Kasagule and Bwambale mark the third straight season that the Ugandan trio has earned all conference honors since coming to Lamar in 2006.
Junior Randy Becker was the six LU runner to finish the race as he placed 32nd with a 27:03 performance while sophomore Jared Rodriguez finished in 54th place in a time of 28:17. Freshman Spencer Prudhomme closed out the meet for the Lamar men as he placed 56th in a time of 28:17.
"It's pretty nice that we trained for this, put our minds to it and we came out here and got it done today," Bwambale said. "I'm glad for my teammates that we raced together and got this championship."
In the women's championship the Lady Cardinals, led by a quartet of freshmen, posted a seventh place finish with 176 points.
Freshman Sandy Castro, who was Lamar's top finisher in every meet this season, once again led the way for the Lady Cards with a 13th place finish as she covered the 6K course in a time of 22:49.
Freshman Emily Carpenter and freshman Taylor Cloy and freshman Daisy Cantu were the next three LU runners to cross the finish line. Carpenter posted a 36th place finish in a time of 24:03, Cloy was 38th with a 24:16 performance and Cantu was 41st in a time of 24:25. Junior Maria Gutierrez closed out the scoring for LU with a 48th place finish in a time of 24:58.
Also running for the LU women were sophomore Mercy Bungei and freshman Mariaryeni Gutierrez who placed 64th and 69th respectively. Bungei covered the course in a time of 26:07 and Mariaryeni Gutierrez ran a 26:40.
Lamar cross country will be back in action on Nov. 15th when they run at the NCAA South Central Regional in Waco, Texas.