The ACU cross country team has had one number in the back of its mind since the season began in August.
That number is 19 – the number of consecutive years the purple and white have won the Lone Star Conference Cross Country Championship.
The Wildcats, ranked fourth in the region, will have the opportunity to increase that number to 20 this weekend when ACU hosts the 2010-2011 Lone Star Conference Cross Country Championships at Sherrod Park.
First-year head coach Chris Woods is fully aware of the streak and the expectations that come along with being in charge of such a prestigious program.
“Well, I definitely don’t want to be that coach,” Woods said. “ACU has a great thing going on with their program here, as is evident by all of the championship banners. We’re excited for this opportunity and the challenge it presents.”
The Wildcats drew a lucky straw in being able to host the tournament on their home course, which adds the built-in advantage of familiarity to the equation for success.
“I feel as if we have an advantage because we know the course,” junior Anais Belledant said. “I feel really confident knowing that I have a knowledge of what to expect when running on it.”
The team hosted the Naidamu Classic on Oct. 9, where the men’s team won and the women’s team took second place. Now the team is looking to build off of that momentum as it heads into the meet this weekend.
“We had a great showing at the Naidamu Classic, so we’re really hoping to build upon that success at the conference meet,” freshman Will Mack said.
ACU is currently ranked fourth in the South Central Region and is second among LSC schools behind East Central, who is third. Eastern New Mexico, Cameron, and Texas A&M-Commerce are all ranked in the top ten in the regional rankings as well.
“East Central always has a strong program with some very talented runners. They always compete at a high level and bring their A-game,” Woods said.
Woods said the team is mentally and physically for this year’s tournament.
“This is the most fit and mentally focused team I’ve been around,” Woods said. “As a coach, that shows how determined they are to succeed to me, and that’s something that is rare. They make my job easy, and it’s a blessing to be in this position.”