Islanders head to Southland Conference Cross Country Championships on Thursday

Islanders head to Southland Conference Cross Country Championships on Thursday

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's and women's cross country teams will travel to Beaumont for the 2010 Southland Conference Championships hosted by Lamar University. Thursday morning at the Bayou Din Golf Club, the women will run first at 9:00 a.m. with the men following at 9:45 a.m.

The Islanders women's team is looking to extend its reign as champions, having won the last three titles. They will also attempt to be the first school to win four-straight titles.

Julia Sambu and Sarah Kimiayo have been the top two finishers throughout most of the season for the Islanders. Itwill take more than Sambu and Kimaiyo to repeat as champions as they will need strong finishes from everyone.

"We're optimistic about our chances on winning a fourth title in-a-row," said head coach Shawn Flanagan "We'll be facing tough obstacles, but if we get the performances that we're hoping for, we'll be right there in the end."

A&M-Corpus Christi returns three runners who finished in the top 30 last year in the championships at West Guth Park. BreAnna Briggs finished in 10th place as a freshman, Courtney Johnson was 23rd and Sheila Salil came in 26th.

On the men's side, the team looks to improve on their fifth-place finish last year at the conference championship.

Patrick Kimeli has been the top runner this season for the men, finishing first among his teammates in each race he's run this season. In his last race at the annual Chile Pepper Festival Kimeli finished in 26th place with a good field of runners participating.

"Hopefully we'll stay healthy during the race and make the podium (top three finish)," added Flanagan "We'll need a good start at the begging and then see what happens."

Kimeli will be running in his second conference championship and was the highest finisher for A&M-Corpus Christi last year after coming in 12th place. Other Islanders with championship experience are Eloy Zertuche, Daniel Barlow and Ari Perez.

"Each team will face different challenges but we shall endeavor forward," said coach Flanagan.

The 2010 Southland Conference Cross Country Championship central can be found at . Results can be followed live at