ACU’s women cross-country team claimed the first Div. I title for the university at the Southland Conference meet in Huntsville.
The championship is the first for ACU athletics since the move back to the Southland Conference in 2013. For cross-country, it is the first championship since 2007 as members of the Lone Star Conference.
Junior Allie Hackett, a three-time Southland Conference Athlete of the Week, took first place overall with a time of 20:26 for the 6k. Hackett had almost a minute lead on the field of 84 runners. Her first place finish is the first for ACU since 2010, when Anais Belledant took first at the Lone Star Championship.
The women have done what no team has yet to do since the transition into Div. I in winning a conference title. They defeated reigning champs, Lamar University, by almost 40 points.
ACU had an overall team total of 43 points. Stephen F. Austin came in second overall with a team total of 52.
The women had a dominating season, with Alexandria Hackett finishing no lower than fourth place in any race this year. The entire women’s team has seen improvements across the board with the pack time decreasing every meet.
Though the team is ineligible for the national meet due to the probationary period ACU is under for Div. I, the team still gets to relish in such a big win.
Though the weather was damp and drizzling, the men ran through it, trying to capitalize off the excitement of the women’s win.
The men’s team was lead by senior Daniel Block who ran in his final race of his collegiate career. Block had a finishing time of 26:01 for the 8k. He finished in with the 23 spot overall. Sophomore Ryan Cleary finished his outstanding season with a 40th place finish out of the filed of 93 runners.
Junior Sterlen Paul rounded out the top three for the Wildcats with a 58-place finish. The men would finish ninth overall out of the 12 teams with a team score of 250. Lamar University would once again take the team title for the men with a final score of 27. Stephen F. Austin would take second followed by McNeese State in third.
Both the women’s and men team finished outstanding seasons for the Wildcats and the women have now claimed the first Southland Conference title for ACU since the transition.