The cross country team competed early Monday morning at the Southland Conference Championships in Natchitoches, Louisiana, hosted by Northwestern University.
The women’s team placed fifth overall with 122 points, falling just below McNeese State who also finished with 122 points but had more runners place higher than ACU.
The team was led by sophomore standout from Phoenix Diana Garcia-Munoz, who recorded a personal best 6K time of 20:59.2. Garcia-Munoz placed ahead of Stephen F. Austin freshman Courtney High and behind Lamar’s Jannika John and Verity Ockenden.
Victoria Gutierrez, freshman from Abilene, placed alongside Alexandria Hackett, sophomore from Cranston, Rhode Island, among the top 20 runners. The final five runners for the women’s team finished in less than 25 minutes.
Keith Barnier, head track and field and cross country coach, said the women’s team worked hard in the race and called Garcia-Munoz’s run “simply inspiring.” He also praised Gutierrez for a great run with a “tremendous kick at the end.”
All runners who placed for the women’s team will return for the indoor track and field season as well as for next year’s outdoor season.
The men’s team competed against 13 teams and placed ninth overall.
Daniel Block, senior from Saskatchewan, Canada, ran a personal best and record-breaking 8K time of 25:17.8 to take 31st overall. Block improved almost two minutes from his time last year.
Sophomore transfer Sterlen Paul placed 55th with a time of 26:25.4. Ryan Cleary, Joshua Mills, Taylor Ochs, Ryan Woelfel, Reid Rivers and John Baker rounded out the men’s’ team and completed the race in less than 30 minutes.
Lamar won overall with 26 points, followed by SFA with 48 points and McNeese with 97 points. The Wildcats’ young team completed the Conference Championship race with 274 points.
The men’s team will stay intact after this season except for senior Daniel Block.
The completion of the Southland Conference Championship race puts ACU’s distance teams into their offseason before indoor track and field season begins Jan. 16.