July 16, 2013
BEAUMONT – The Lamar men’s and women’s cross country teams have consistently been among the best in the Southland Conference, and the Cardinals will be looking to return to the top of the league in 2013 as they face yet another challenging slate.
“I’m really excited about the schedule this year,” head coach Darren Gauson said. “I think we have some great opportunities to compete against some great teams, especially at Notre Dame and the Pre-Nationals.”
Depth will play a major role this season with meets like the McNeese Relay on August 30 and Houston Baptist Invitational on October 11 serving as opportunities for everyone to perform in a competitive setting.
“We probably aren’t going to run everyone at each of the meets,” Gauson revealed. “McNeese will be a light opener for us. The goal for recruiting this year was to build our depth so that we can send the kids who maybe aren’t ready to compete at conference to developmental meets so they can be ready for the next season or if someone gets hurt.”
The season will start in earnest with the Rice Invitational on September 13. Returning All-American Matt Johnsen will look to better his finish at the event a year ago as he and the men’s team took home runner-up honors. The women placed ninth.
Three weeks later, the Cards will travel to Notre Dame on October 4 for the first of two major regular season meets. LU will return to Indiana later in the month for the Pre-National Meet in Terre Haute on October 19.
“Both the Notre Dame and the Pre-National meets give us a chance to compete against teams from outside our region,” said Gauson. “Our ultimate goal is to get to the National Championship meet, and these kinds of races help us secure at-large points. We’re looking to be in the main section on both the men’s and women’s side at each event.”
The Lamar Invitational will wrap up the season for some runners at Claiborne Park on October 25.
“We’re looking to develop the Lamar Invitational into a yearly event,” Gauson said. “It’ll probably be a bit smaller this year with it being a week before the conference meet, but we’re going to try to make it a larger event as time goes on. We’re going to use it as an end point for the people who don’t make it to conference, so it’ll offer a nice way to end the season.”
The following week, the Lamar men will have revenge in mind as the team will participate in the Southland Conference Championships in Lake Charles on November 1. Host McNeese State ended LU’s streak of six consecutive titles in Beaumont last fall. The LU women placed third.
“I think we have an opportunity to compete for a title on both the men’s and women’s side,” Gauson said. “With us not winning a title last year, it’s a chance for us to try and get back on track.”
NCAA Regionals will take place on the campus of Baylor in Waco on November 15, and the National Championships are scheduled for November 23 in Terre Haute.