The ACU cross country team is coming off a team victory at Midwestern State, and hopes to carry this momentum to Lawton, Okla. for the Lone Star Conference championship October 20th.
First year head coach Chris Ward arrived on the scene a little late, but the team has continued to improve every week, and will have a chance to peak this weekend against the entire LSC.
“It was an adjustment period for us on both sides,” Ward said. “It took about a month, but I think we came to a mutual agreement that if we both keep working hard, improvement is going to happen.”
Last weekend, the men’s team swept the podium in Wichita Falls, lead by Xavier King, with James Grantham finishing second.
However, with the Lone Star conference championship on the line Saturday, the men’s team will need to put together another strong performance in order to qualify for the Division II South Central Regional Tournament in the beginning of November.
Senior Alyse Goldsmith headlines the women’s squad and is looking for another shot at nationals. Meanwhile, Ayesha Rumble is coming off of a top-ten finish at Midwestern State and should have a chance to compete in regionals as well with another good performance over the weekend.
“It would mean a lot to win an LSC title,” Goldsmith said.
Neither Wildcat team has been in a meet for a couple of weeks, so both teams should be itching to compete in Lawton on Saturday.
“A lot of people see our sport as punishment,” Ward said. “These individuals like to run a lot, so that makes it fascinating, to watch people run four miles on the women’s side and six miles on the men’s side.”
The men’s cross-country team had won 20 straight LSC titles before last season, when Eastern New Mexico stole the Wildcats bid for the championship.
On the women’s side, Midwestern State has won the last four championships, while ACU had been on a seven-year winning streak of their own before 2008.