The women’s cross country team rocketed from sixth in the region to third after an 18th-place finish out of 43 schools at the Adidas Pre-National Cross Country Meet in Louisville, Kentucky.
The women were led by redshirt senior Michaela Hackett as she finished 32nd out of 288 runners, earning her second Southland Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Week award this season. She also finished less than half a second behind Arkansas runner Carina Viljoen- the Razorbacks are first in the region and third nationally.
Michaela was followed by her twin Alexandria Hackett in 35th, Diana Garcia-Munoz at 99th and Carnley Graham and Soren Underwood rounded out the Wildcats’ top-five finishing 144th and 263rd respectively.
The jump to third happened after ACU beat a number of teams in the South-Central region, mainly the University of Texas and SMU, who were ranked third and fourth at the time of the meet. The top two teams in the region will advance from the regional meet in College Station, Nov. 10.
Coach Jarvis Jelen said that even though the girls could have done better, the team had a good day.
“Our women’s team had a solid race day beating region opponents Texas and SMU,” Jelen said. “They finished really well overall even if we didn’t finish as high as I thought we could.”
Oregon, the No. 2 team in the nation finished first in the women’s race, followed by Colorado, who was previously ranked as the nation’s top. Arkansas came in third to round out the top-three.
The men’s team finished 21st out of 24 teams with Ryan Cleary leading the Wildcats in 84th place. He was followed by teammates Drew Cummings, Travis Nichols, John Baker and Roy Kipkorir. Jelen said the team had an average day overall and has a lot of work to do before the conference meet in Abilene.
The next race the Wildcats will run is Friday, Oct. 27, when they host the Southland Conference Championships on their new Cross Country course, which debuted in the Naimudu Classic last month.