The ACU cross country teams found plenty of PR times and a third place finish among Southland Conference schools at last week’s Chile Pepper Festival.
Both the men and women’s teams traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas to compete in the off-road course last Saturday. The ACU teams ran against more than 375 runners in the female race and 430 in the male race. Every member of both teams ran personal records and proved their season is headed in the right direction.
Diana Garcia Munoz, Alexandria Hackett and Victoria Gutierrez led both teams and finished within the top 20 percent of the competition. The three runners raced against some of the toughest competition they’ve seen since season started.
The host team, the Arkansas Razorbacks, dominated the trails with an almost perfect score of 16 points. The second and third best teams were Lamar followed by Kansas State and trailed the impressive Razorbacks with 81 and 117 points respectively.
“I felt amazing during the race and it just got me even more excited to run the next one to see what else I am capable of,” said Hackett, sophomore from Cranston, Rhode Island.
Hackett finished 54th with a 5K time of 17:52:9, trailing behind Munoz, sophomore from Phoenix, who ran a season-best of 17:2:4.
Gutierrez, freshman from Abilene, claimed a time of 18:13:2 and the 76th spot across the finish line.
“The way that our team performed is just another indicator of the rewards that will come if we just get past the fear of pushing our limits,” Hackett said.
Daniel Block, senior from Saskatchewan, Canada, led the men’s team, a feat he has repeated three times in the past four meets. The runner clocked an 8K time of 26:24:8 and took 154th place out of the 430 runners.
“I was happy with how my race played out,” Block said. “I was hesitant to push myself too hard after my DNF last weekend, so the fact that I ran a solid race while being fairly conservative gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
The rest of the men’s team finished under the 30-minute mark and ran well as a group.
Ryan Clearly, freshman from Prosper, ran a time of 27:07:3, and Sterlen Paul, sophomore from Enterprise, Trinidad and Tobago, ran a time of 27:15:9, earning the the second and third best performances for the men’s team.
The cross country teams will run again on Oct. 11 in San Antonio at the Incarnate Word Invitational.