The fate of ACU’s cross country team was left in limbo Aug. 13 after the Southland Conference made the decision to postpone fall sports.
“The team is thankful for our administration allowing us to host meets and potentially even travel to a meet,” Jarvis Jelen, head cross country coach, said.
When the Southland Conference postponed fall sports, each college was given the opportunity to hold its own competitions in the fall at the university’s discretion. ACU made an announcement following the postponement that it plans to look into opportunities to play against other universities.
The original cross country schedule included meets at Texas Tech and Texas A&M prior to the Southland championships. The team was originally looking forward to this schedule considering the travel time and quality of meets.
“The NCAA championships were already canceled along with most of the conference meets already,” Jelen said. “It’s disappointing since we were going to compete against good teams and we were ready to go. At the same time, it was for the best considering all the uncertainty around finishing the season.”
Having more cross country meets held at ACU has allowed the team to invite better teams to compete and set up bigger competitions than in the past seasons.
“We are still training as hard as normal, and we will continue acting like we still have races upcoming,” junior runner Colton Gates said. “We will continue working hard training and preparing some fast times and work together as a team.”
Cross country is coming off a strong last year placing third in the men’s conference. The men didn’t lose a single runner and have multiple freshmen joining the team to help build depth and strengthen the team. The women are also working on increasing their depth to strengthen the roster.
“We are just really excited for the future to have both men’s and women’s teams competing as one of the top cross country teams in the Southland conference each year,” Jelen said.