Written by Allen Smith.
The SU Men’s and Women’s cross country teams have been working hard to prepare for the SCAC Conference Championships this Saturday at the SU Golf Course. The course features a steep 300-m hill that is sure to slow many of the runner’s times, and make it a strength race. The women will race at 9 a.m. and the men will race at 10 a.m.
The women have been battling injuries late this season, but still remain one of the top teams in the conference. Tami Warner led the team to a 6th place finish at the Texas Lutheran Invitational with a 6k time of 25:20. Jessica Ratclife, Kristin Lahaie, Ursula James and Elly Martinez are expected to contribute greatly to the team on Saturday.
Despite losing Junior Kelly Parmet and First-year Lili McEntire to injury, the girls are still optimistic about conference.
DePauw comes in as the favorite on the women’s side after being ranked 13th in the nation in the latest NCAA D3 poll. Trinity is another team that is picked to do well, though Southwestern is hoping to battle it out for 3rd.
On the men’s side, Colorado College comes in as the favorite after being ranked in the top 35 nationally. DePauw, Centre, Trinity, Sewanee and Rhodes are expected to be tough as well.
Southwestern is hoping to take advantage of their pack running strategy that has worked well all season. At the Texas Lutheran Invitational, the top five men for Southwestern finished within 1:07 of each other to grab 4th place in a meet that featured D1 schools Texas State and Prairie View A&M. Junior Ben Sloan led the Pirates at TLU with a season best time of 28:36. Josh Gideon, Addison English, Allen Smith and David Pruit rounded out the top five.
“Conference is going to out of this world,” Sophomore David Pruit, who has finished as the Pirates 5th runner the last two races, said. “It will be quite an adrenaline rush for all parties involved.”
This monumental meet marks the second time Southwestern has hosted the conference championships in the last 10 years. The team has been training regularly on the course to prepare for the challenges it will provide. The course is undergoing some final preparations this week to get rid of certain rocky areas.
Southwestern students and faculty are encouraged to come out and support the men’s and women’s cross country teams this Saturday morning. Once conference is over, the Pirates will participate in the Jameson 5k road race next Saturday, which will take place on the Southwestern campus. The following week, they will travel to Williamsburg, Virginia for the South/Southeast Regional Championships.