On Saturday the men’s cross country team can add to ACU’s already mind-blowing number of national championships.
Currently, the athletic program has 55 team championships, good enough for fifth all-time. The schools that ACU trails include Div. I athletic powerhouses USC, Stanford and UCLA, and Division III school Kenyon College.
That number can be upped to 56 this Saturday at the NCAA Div. II National Championship meet in Louisville, Ky.
“It is an absolute honor to be here and in this position. We’ve all worked very hard to get to where we are, and I’m so proud of the team and the effort they have put forth this season. They’ve been preparing for this day since the summer, and I’m excited that it’s finally come for them,” head coach Chris Woods said. “I am definitely expecting big things out of my group. Getting here is a feat in itself, but I know they aren’t satisfied just yet, especially Amos and Anais. I’m expecting Amos to run the race of his life and solidify his role as one of the best runners in the country, and I have total confidence that he’ll do exactly that.”
At last year’s national championship meet, Amos Sang finished fourth overall and earned all-American honors. This year he will get to bring his team with him. With a third place finish at regionals, the entire men’s team will have the chance to compete.
Sang has already experienced a taste of national championship glory. He competed on the 2007 team, led by four-time national champion Nicodemus Naimadu, which won the National Championship. After a disappointing season in 2008, Sang rebounded in 2009 and nabbed that fourth-place finish at the championship.
This year Sang has been on top of his game. He has won four meets this fall, including the LSC and South Central Region crowns.
“I am so excited to be in Louisville right now. This is going to be a blast, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” Amos Sang said. “Our whole team is looking and feeling great right now, and it’s an honor to be a part of such a great group of teammates and people.”
Although the women did not qualify for nationals, Anais Belledant will be making the trip with the men thanks to her victory at regionals. Belledant has also had a solid season. She has been the first Wildcat runner to cross the finish line in every race, including wins in the Naimadu Classic, the Lone Star Conference title and South Central Region meets.
The Wildcats have not had an individual champion in cross country since Naimadu’s unforgettable four years, but that could all change Saturday in Louisville.