November 10, 2011

Cross Country Set for South Central Regionals

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi cross country teams will travel to Waco, Texas to compete at the NCAA South Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 12. The men's 10k will begin at 10 a.m. and the women's 6k race will follow at 11:15 a.m. at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course.  

"We are hoping that Patrick Kimeli can repeat as a national qualifier, and if we can finish as well as we are ranked or better that would be outstanding," head coach Shawn Flanagan said. "We have to be healthy and have good races." 

Live Results: Results will be available here and at Baylor University's website.

In the Running: The Islanders will face 23 teams in the South Central Region in the women's race and 21 in the men's race.  

Here's a look at the South Central Regional rankings and how each team finished in their respective conference championships two weeks ago:

Men:                                                  

1. Texas (3rd, Big 12)

2. Arkansas (1st, SEC)

3. Texas A&M (4th, Big 12)

4. Lamar (1st, Southland)

5. UTSA (2nd, Southland)

6. Houston (3rd, Conference USA)

7. Rice (4th, Conference USA)

8. Arkansas - Little Rock (2nd, Sun Belt)

9. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi (3rd, Southland)

10. Stephen F. Austin (4th, Southland)

11. Baylor (9th, Big 12)

12. UTPA (2nd, Great West)

13. McNeese State (5th, Southland)

14. ULM (5th, Sun Belt)

15. Texas State (6th, Southland) 

Women:

1. Texas (2nd, Big 12)

2. Arkansas (2nd, SEC)

3. SMU (1st, Conference USA)

4. Rice (3rd, Conference USA)

5. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi (1st, Southland)

6. Texas A&M (6th, Big 12)

7. UTSA (2nd, Southland)

8. Lamar (3rd, Southland)

9. Texas State (4th, Southland)

10. North Texas (2nd, Sun Belt)

11. Baylor (10th, Big 12)

12. UT Arlington (5th, Southland)

13. TCU (6th, Mountain West)

14. Arkansas - Little Rock (4th, Sun Belt)

15. Stephen F. Austin (6th, Southland) 

2010 South Central Regionals: Last season, the Islanders ran in Waco, Texas, and Patrick Kimeli finished in seventh place to become the fifth runner in the last six years to represent the program at the NCAA Championships.  

The women's team finished eighth with Julia Sambu running a career best, finishing 15th with a time of 21:08.0 and Sarah Kimaiyo had a personal best with a time of 21:37.4 to finish 38th.  BreAnna Briggs (62nd, 22:14.8), Danielle Higgins (65th, 22:16.3) and Kristine Burciaga (86th, 22:52.4) also competed. 

The men's squad finished 13th with Kimeli leading the way. Behind Kimeli was Justin Adame in 93rd place with a time of 33:42.6 followed by Jacob Abrego (97th, 33:48) and Jason Garcia (101st, 34:04). 

Women's 6k: Burciaga, Sambu, Higgins, Kimaiyo, Briggs, Cecilia Gonzalez and Shelby Polasek are slated to compete in the 6k.  

"If we are 100 percent healthy and if we run a good race we might sneak in, but that requires us to be 100 percent aligned," Flanagan said. "Our goal is to qualify the whole team." 

Men's 10k: Kimeli, along with Adame and Garcia, Angel Banda, Philipp Baar, Christoph Hintz, Valentinas Rudys and Paul Hansel are slated to compete.  

"We have a very young team and we will have everyone back for next year," Flanagan said. "The men's team had their best race of the season at the conference meet. If we can have another solid race, and finish at where we are ranked or higher, that would be outstanding." 

Islanders in the Rankings: In the latest USTFCCCA South Central regional rankings the Islanders women's team maintained their No. 5 spot and remained in the top slot in the Southland. The men's team sits in ninth place and third in the Southland, behind Lamar and UTSA, who sits in the No. 4 and No. 5 slots.   

2011 Southland Conference Champions: The women's squad won their fourth title in five years, edging UTSA by five points in Nacogdoches, Texas. The five points that separated the Islanders and UTSA was the smallest winning margin at the SLC Championships, since the Islanders clinched their first title in 2007 over Lamar by four points. The team won in 2007 on their home course at West Guth Park, in 2008 in Nacogdoches and again in 2009 at West Guth Park.  

Defending Back-To-Back Champion: Kimeli clinched his second consecutive Southland individual title in the 8k, finishing with a time of 24:50.6. Kimeli joins former Islander and current assistant coach Shadrack Songok as the only runners to win the individual 8k title consecutive years. Songok won the title in 2006 and 2007. Last season, Kimeli finished as the top individual in the men's 8k race with a time of 24:47.0.  

Consecutive SLC Male Athlete of the Year Honors: For the second consecutive year, Kimeli was named the Southland Conference Male Athlete of the Year. Kimeli joins former Islander and current assistant coach Shadrack Songok as the only conference runners to win the Southland cross country 8k event and be named athlete of the year in two consecutive years. Songok earned the award in 2006 and 2007. Kimeli joins Songok and Anne Ronoh as the only Islanders to earn the honor.   

Make it 28: Head coach Shawn Flanagan was named the Southland Conference Women's Coach of the Year marking his 28th career conference Coach of the Year honor. Flanagan, a 10-time coach of the year, earned his eighth Southland Women's Coach of the Year honor and third for the Islanders after guiding the women's team to its fourth team title in five years. Flanagan led the Islanders to their eighth title as a team out of 11 conference meets. Before joining the Southland, the Islanders won four as a Division I Independent conference. Flanagan ranks first all-time among Southland coaches with 10 championships combined between Texas A&M - Corpus Christi and UTSA. Flanagan earned the Women's Coach of the Year honor in 2007 and 2008, when the women won the team titles back-to-back. 

Spotlight Runners: Burciaga, Kimeli and Gonzalez have all earned Southland Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors this season. 

Islanders Head Coach Shawn Flanagan enters his 11th season as the head coach of the Islanders cross country team and 31st season as a Division I coach. Flanagan started the cross country program in 2000. He has won four Southland women's titles, four Independent women's titles and three Independent men's titles.  Altogether, Flanagan holds 30 Conference titles as head coach, including the 19 conference titles he won at UTSA. He also sealed three conference titles as an assistant coach at the University of Texas, totaling 33 Conference Championships to his name. 

2011 Season: This season the Islanders have performed well at their six meets. At the UTPA Bronc Relays, both the men and the women took the top spots. At the Rice Invite, both teams finished in second in the women's 4k and the men's 5k, while Kimeli took home the top spot. At the Islanders Splash, the women finished second in the 5k behind Rice, while the men took the top spot in the 8k. Gonzalez and Banda each finished in second for the women's and men's teams. In Austin at the Grass Routes Grand Prix, the women's team finished third in the 6k, while the men finished fourth in the 8k. Kimeli finished in second behind Lamar's Matt Johnsen. The women's squad finished 11th in the 6k and the men's team finished 12th in the 10k at the Chile Pepper Festival. At the 2011 Conference Championships, the women's team clinched the title while the men finished in third place. Kimeli won the men's 8k race while Burciaga finished in second in the women's 6k race.

Keep up with the Islanders: For the latest information, follow Islanders Cross Country on Twitter (@IslandersTFXC) and Facebook (Texas A&M Corpus Christi Track & Field/Cross Country).