Aug. 31, 2012
VIDOR - Lamar University got its 2012 cross country season underway Friday evening at Claiborne West Park as its men's and women's teams hosted the Cardinal Relays.
The tri-meet featured two-man relay teams from Lamar, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin with each runner alternating a 2-mile loop. The men's race featured six loops for a 12-mile total, while the women each ran two loops for an 8-mile race.
Lamar juniors Alex DeLaGarza and Matt Johnsen covered the 12-mile course in 62:56.9 to finish well ahead of runner-up Zach Goodlander and Logan Terry of Sam Houston State (64:22.9).
The Cardinals have won the last six Southland Conference titles in men's cross country and begin the 2012 season as the fourth ranked team in the region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, trailing Texas, Texas A&M and Arkansas.
In the women's race, Sam Houston State had the top two finishing teams, with Lamar's three teams claiming the next three spots. The Ladykats' Alyssa Dooley and Nicole Aponte won in 49:42.3, while teammates Solenna Rios and Ana Moreno finished in 50:05.4 for second.
Graduate student Becky Gough and junior Angela LaBorde were Lamar's top finishing tandem after clocking a 50:11.1 over the eight miles to place third.
LU head coach Trey Clark was pleased with his women's effort. "We really didn't know what we were going to have coming into the meet. We have a lot of young kids. I was really pleased with our fitness level coming into the race.
"We have something we can build on with this group. We're really excited about where we're starting, and obviously if you're excited about where you're starting, you've got a chance to be excited about something at the end of the season."
Freshman Kaitlynn Warren and senior Nora Beth Saunders placed fourth for the Lady Cardinals with a time of 51:16.6 to edge the duo of senior Claire Miles and freshman Kim Campbell who ran a 52.46.2.
SFA's top team of Katrina Fite and Shelby Pesek ran unattached and placed sixth in 53:14.9.
DeLaGarza and Johnsen made up the only Lamar men's team to finish the race. The groups of Joe Wade and Chris Jones and Ryan Kelly and Sam Stabler did not finish with Clark choosing not to overwork his team early in the season.
"We sat out a lot of our guys because we're training through," said Clark about his men's team. "The guys that we did run, ran really well. I'm very pleased with the effort they gave tonight.
"We have big goals for the men's team and part of that was resting some guys tonight. We'll see them get their competition in as we move forward with the season."
Sam Houston's men also took third and fourth with SFA's Colby Mehmen and Luke Romanko running unattached and placing fifth in 66:20.2