The final team race of the season is on the horizon for the Horned Frogs.Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Waco this weekend for the NCAA South Central Regional Championships.
“We were improving every week until the Oklahoma State meet,” said head coach Eric Heins.
Since that meet, the runners have had good individual races but haven’t been able to pull together as a whole team on race day, Heins said.
“We haven’t had everybody have a good race on the same day since Oklahoma,” Heins said. “We want to finish on a good note.”
Through each race of the season, the top two men’s runners this season have been freshman Festus Kigen and junior Matt Manly.
Manly said this will be his second regional meet because he missed the competition his freshman year from an injury.
“I hopefully want a better performance (than last year),” Manly said. “I am looking to be more relaxed and go out there and run.”
Kigen will be competing in his first regional meet and said he is excited and feeling better than he did during the Oct 28. Mountain West Conference Championships.
“I had the flu during the last race, but it shouldn’t be a problem this time,” Kigen said.
The men’s race will be over a 10K course, different from the typical 8K run in the Conference Championships.
“It is a pretty flat and fairly fast course,” said Manly, who ran the 10K course in Waco last season.
The difference between running a 10K and an 8K comes down to the runner, Heins said.
“At 10K pace, you go out under control and pick it up later in the race,” Heins said. “You have to go out and pass people during the race as opposed to coming out in the first half.”
The women’s team will be looking to continue climbing the standings and has the possibility of sending one runner to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., Heins said.
“Calandra (Stewart) has a goal of qualifying for nationals,” Heins said. “The other girls want to see how close they can be to the top 25.”
The women’s team will bring three freshmen, Dani Selner, Lisa Baity and Carlene Mayfield, to the regional competition, Heins said.
“I’m a little anxious about the race because in our region, there are a few people I used to race with in high school,” Selner said.