Athletes bound for cross country regionals
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 15:11
The ASU Cross Country teams will compete in the 2012 NCAA Division I South Central Regional Championships on Friday, Nov. 9 in Fayetteville. This will be the first time regionals will be held in Fayetteville. Seven runners from the women’s cross country team will race, along with two runners from the men’s team.
The women’s team achieved the highest team finish in ASU school history at the Sun Belt Conference race with a second place finish, and is hoping to continue breaking school records this weekend as they travel to regionals.
Senior captain Sam Salinas has helped build the distance program over the course of four seasons, and is excited to compete in this weekend’s race.
“Coming off of a strong finish at conference, our team is beyond excited to do well at regionals. Finishing the highest we have ever finished at conference has given us confidence that we can hang with the big teams at regionals, and our 9th place regional ranking going into the meet is proof that we can Salinas said. Finishing in the top 10 at regionals will also pull in some great recruits for the next year and help to continue building our program. I am proud of my team for working so hard and I have confidence that we will end the season with a bang.”
Going into the meet, the women’s cross country team is currently ranked 9th by the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I South Central Regional Rankings, the highest regional ranking in the history of the ASU cross country program.
The top five teams leading the South Central Region include Arkansas, Texas, SMU, LSU and Texas A&M.
The South Central Region is made up of teams from Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, representing eight different Division 1 conferences: the Big 12, Conference USA, Southeastern Conference, Southland, Western Athletic Conference, Southwestern Athletic Conference, Great West, and Sun Belt.
Freshman Abbey Dixon and sophomore Rexi Parcells both received second-team all Sun Belt Conference honors, and will be key runners at regionals on Friday.
“Our team has worked hard all summer and all season, and this shows in our number nine position in the South Central Region. Receiving the highest regional ranking in school history is very exciting, and motivates us daily in practice. Regionals is a very big race for us, and we are hoping to surprise some people,” Parcells said.
The top two teams to finish in the South Central Region are guaranteed a spot at Nationals on Nov. 17, along with the top two teams from each of the other eight NCAA Division 1 Regional Sites.
In addition, the top four individual runners that are not members of the top two finishing teams will receive an invitation to compete at Nationals.
Redshirt sophomore Kristina Aubert is hoping to earn one of those invitations and have the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Division 1 Championship in Louisville, Ky.
Aubert finished first-team all Sun Belt Conference, and her times in other races this season predict a solid chance for her to qualify for Nationals if she performs well in this weekend’s race.
Although the men’s cross country team will not be competing as a team, two runners will be competing on an individual basis: sophomore Luke Lindsley and freshman Lance Beckman.
Regarding Friday’s race, Beckman stated, “It is exciting to have the opportunity to race at the regional level and represent ASU to the best of my ability in a very competitive race.”
Kyle Chandler, head coach of both the men’s and women’s cross country teams, is looking forward to Friday’s race.
“I’m excited for our cross country runners who will be competing at the regional meet. For the men, Luke Lindsley and Lance Beckman will be competing in their first regional championship. Like the women, they are poised to run well, and it should be fun to watch their races patiently unfold. The women have the opportunity to finish in the top 10, which if they are successful, would be a first in program history.”
The race will be hosted by University of Arkansas and will take place at Agri Park, a course that the team raced on earlier this season during the Chile Pepper race, allowing the runners to be familiar with the course and race environment.
The starting gun for the women’s 6K is scheduled to go off at 11 a.m., followed by the men’s 8K at 12:15 p.m.