BOONE, N.C. (10/28/17) – The Arkansas State women’s cross country team took fourth place while the men’s team finished eighth at the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Championships Saturday morning.
As a group, the women’s team compiled 100 points with a total time of 1:31.41. Texas State won the women’s title with a total time of 1:30.32 with 53 points while host Appalachian State was second with 80 points. South Alabama (91) finished just ahead of A-State while Louisiana (131), Georgia State (176), Coastal Carolina (180), UT Arlington (182), Georgia Southern (206), Little Rock (222), Troy (272) and ULM (300) round out the team scoring. The fourth place finish is the best for A-State since a third place run back at the 2014 SBC Championships.
“I was pleased with how tough the women’s team competed the last half of the race,” said A-State cross country coach Kyle Chandler. “If we would have executed a little better in the front half of the race, we likely would have placed higher. We will look forward to learning from that as we progress to the regional meet.”
Pauline Meyer paced A-State as she finished 14th overall with a time of 18:11.00 on the 5k course. Anaelle Charles led A-State for much of the race before finishing 18th overall with a time of 18:15.5. Elizabeth Gillette (18:20.6) finished 21st with Sammy Brainard (18:21.2) on her heels. Erin Nunan (18:32.2) rounded out the top five finishers for the Red Wolves as she finished 25th.
“Pauline ran a bit more aggressive today from the beginning and it really paid off with her best race of the season,” Chandler said. “I was really proud of how she stepped up today. Anaelle did a good job putting herself in position to finish in the top five. Unfortunately, Anaelle really ties up the last 100 meters which allowed about a dozen runners to pass her. She battled and got across the finish line to do all she could for the team.”
Appalachian State earned the men’s championship with a team score of 70 points and total time of 2:08.43. UT Arlington (73), Texas State (75), South Alabama (113), Louisiana (113), Troy (125) and Coastal Carolina (169) were ahead of the Red Wolves (199) in the team standings with Little Rock (201) and ULM (231) rounding out the field.
“We had some good performances from several freshmen in their first conference meet,” Chandler said. “We were slow on executing our race plan as a group with caused us to be out of position later in the race. We will certainly carry that lesson with us as we head to the regional meet in two weeks.”
On the men’s side, Seth Waters once again led the young team. Waters finished 29th overall completing the 8k course in 26:29.4. Bennett Pascoe (26:49.9) finished in 35th with Rickus Jacobs (26:58.9) also finishing inside the top-40 placing 38th. John Carder (27:14.7) and Jacob Oury (27:58.0) round out the top five finishers for the Red Wolves as they finished 45th and 52nd, respectively.
“Both Seth and Bennett did a good job working together throughout the race,” Chandler said. “When looking at only the true freshman they are in the top five, which is impressive. It would not show in the results, but Rickus ran as good as a race as could be expected. He was coming into good form from an early season injury and then got food poisoning last night. He had very little sleep, but really showed a lot of toughness competing today with that adversity.
The Red Wolves will continue their postseason at the NCAA South Central Regional. That race will be held on November 10 in College Station, Texas.