Nov. 18, 2007
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -
Three runners from Lamar University will run at the NCAA Cross Country Championship in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday afternoon as Renee Graham makes her third trip to the national meet, Francis Kasagule makes his second trip and Clerc Koenck makes her NCAA Championship debut.
The men race gets things started with a 10,000 meter race at 12:05 p.m., with the women's 6,000 meter race following at 12:55 p.m. Both championship races will be broadcast on CSTV.
Kasagule, a native of Gayhza, Uganda, qualified for his second trip to the national meet with a second place finish at the South Central Regional last weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. turning in a 29:23.4 performance over 10K. At the Pre-National meet in mid October, Kasagule posted a ninth place finish in a time of 23:33 over 8K.
Last year Kasagule earned All-American honors with a 29th place finish at the NCAA championship. He ran the 10,000 meter course in a time of 31:34.9 to become the first Lamar University runners to earn All American honors.
Koenck, a native of Anacoco, La., is making her first trip to the NCAA championship in her senior season. She punched her ticket to the meet with a fourth place finish at the regional meet, running the 6K course in a time of 20:51.3. At the Pre National meet she picked up her first title of the season with a 20:56.6 performance over 6k.
"This year is my last go round for everything, and I want to make the most of my senior year," Koenck said. "I don't to have any regrets when it's all over. My goal was to qualify for nationals and I want to make it into the top 100. I want to enjoy the moment, but run the best that I can."
Graham, a junior from Hawera, New Zealand, earned her third straight tip to the NCAA's by virtue of an at large bid after she finished in 11th place at the regional meet. She ran 21:12.8 over 6K and was selected to go to nationals after the Baylor team earned an at large bid.
In her previous two trips to the national meet Graham finished in 154th and 126th place. As a freshman she posted a time of 21:38 over 6K, then improved by 28 spots with a 22:20.7 performance as a sophomore. Earlier this season at Pre-Nationals she finished in third place with a 6K time of 21:04.5.
"I knew making it back to nationals would be tough because there are so many good individuals in the region," Graham said. "I'm glad Baylor got an at large bid so I could go back. Now I have two goals. I want to run faster than I did at Pre Nationals and I want to finish in the top 100. I think those are pretty realistic goals."