Oct. 26, 2007
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -
The Lamar University men's and women's cross country teams will wrap up the regular season Saturday morning at the 44th Southland Conference Cross Country Championship in Corpus Christi, Texas.
This year's championship will be hosted by Texas A&M Corpus Christi at West Guth Park. Saturday's action will begin at 8 a.m. with the men's 8,000-meter race, with the women's 6,000-meter run set to begin at 8:45 a.m.
The Cardinal men return the lineup that captured the 2006 title in Nacogdoches, Texas, giving them high hopes of a repeat. Last year Lamar's men placed four runners among the top six finishers with Samuel Kosgei and Francis Kasagule taking second and third place, while Frank Bwambale and Danny Shaw were fifth and sixth. Aaron Brannen rounded out the scoring for Lu last year, placing 21st, while Randy Becker and Ewan Simpson finished 41st and 42nd.
This year's squad has been led by Kasagule, who has been Lamar's top finisher in every meet. He has been named the SLC cross country runner of the week two times and will likely battle with Texas A&M Corpus Christi's Shadrack Songok for the title. His best performance of the year was.
Kosgei, who sat out the spring track season last year, is rounding into the form he showed at the end of the cross country season a year ago, a level that carried him to the NCAA Championships along with Kasagule.
Shaw and Bwambale have continued to be a steady force for the Cardinals this season, finishing as a strong combination as Lamar's third and fourth runners this year. Becker has made great strides since last season, and is poised to finish among Lamar's top five finishers.
Pushing Becker will be Brannen and newcomer Drew Bean
, who was LU's fifth finisher at Pre-Nationals, his only competition of the season. Rounding out the men's runners will be Simpson, who looks to improve on his 2006 finish.
The Cardinals enter the meet ranked fourth in the South Central Region, one spot ahead of TAMUCC. Other Southland schools ranked in the poll are UT-Arlington (8th), Stephen F. Austin (11th) and McNeese State who is 13th.
On the women's side the Lady Cardinals seek their fourth title in as many years, and have a veteran lineup that will be ready to battle the host Islanders who enter the meet five spots ahead of LU in the regional poll.
Senior Clerc Koenck is the defending SLC champion and has been one of the Lady Cardinals top two runners this season, along with junior Renee Graham, who has a pair of second place finishes in the conference meet. Koenck, who has been named SLC runner of the week, and Graham who has earned the distinction twice this season, should battle each other for the title again this season, while the rest of the Lady Cards will look to fill in the rest of the championship puzzle.
Freshman Rachel Kingsford has been LU's No. 3 runner all season long, and will look to make a splash in her SLC debut. The experienced running of Lamar's fourth runner, Stacey Monteau will also is a key in the Lady Cards success. As a freshman Monteau finished third in the SLC meet and posted a 26th place finish a year ago. Rounding out the top five runners for Lamar is Karesse Lethermon, who grabbed 13th place in last year's championship. Also in the mix for the Lady Cards is a pair of freshman, Merci Bungei and Andrea Smith.
The Lady Cardinals enter the meet ranked 11th in the South Central Region, while Texas A&M Corpus Christi is ranked sixth. Other SLC teams in the poll are Stephen F. Austin (13th), Texas State (14th) and Central Arkansas who is 15th.
Meet results can be found online at http://www.flashresults.com/flashtexas/.