CORPUS CHRISTI – The defending Southland Conference women's cross country team and third-place men's cross country team will once again face a challenging 2012 schedule. The Islanders will compete against tough competitors in some of the top meets around the region.
"The schedule is a good one designed to get us ready to go when the championship segment begins with the Southland Conference Championships, Regionals and Nationals," head coach Shawn Flanagan said.
The Islanders will open the season on Friday, August 31, at the Bronc Relays, hosted by Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Texas. Last season the men's and women's cross country squads had a strong performance, with the men's team garnering the top four spots, while the women claimed four of five.
Following the relays, the Islanders will head to Houston to compete at the Rice Invitational on Friday, Sept. 14. Last season, the men's and women's teams clinched the runner-up spots in both the men's 5k and the women's 4k. Also, for the second straight race, junior Patrick Kimeli finished as the top individual runner in the men's race.
On Friday, Sept. 28, the Islanders will host the 13th Annual Islander Splash at West Guth Park. The women's 5km will start at 6:20 p.m. with the men's 8km slated for 6:45 p.m. At last season's Islander Splash, the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's team swept the top spot for the second year in a row in the 8k, while the women's team finished second in the 5k. The Islanders will host the high school and middle school portion of the Islander Splash on Saturday, Sept. 29.
The Islanders will wrap the regular season when they trek out of Texas on Saturday, Oct. 13, to Fayetteville, Ark. to compete in the Chile Pepper Invite. Last season, despite missing critical runners, the women's team finished 11th out of 34 teams in the 6k, while the men's team placed 12th out of 32 teams in the 10k.
On Friday, Oct. 26, the Islanders will look to continue their success at the Southland Conference Championships in Beaumont, Texas, hosted by Lamar. At the 2011 championships the women's team edged UTSA by five points. It marked the smallest winning margin at the Southland Conference Championships, since the Islanders clinched their first title in 2007 over Lamar by four points. The men's team was led by Kimeli for the second straight year. The junior clinched his second consecutive Southland individual title in the 8k, finishing with a time of 24:50.6.
The Islanders will follow the Championships with the NCAA South Central Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 10, in Fayetteville, Ark. Last season, for the second straight year, Kimeli finished in seventh place in the men's 10k to qualify for the NCAA National Championships. Kimeli crossed the line with a time of 30:55.9 to become the sixth runner in the last seven years to represent the Islanders at the NCAA Championships.
The NCAA National Championships will be held in Louisville, Ky. on Saturday, Nov. 17. Kimeli was the lone Islander to compete in last season's NCAA Championships. He finished in 82nd place out of 255 runners with a time of 30:39.4 in the men's 10k race.
So far the Islanders have signed three to National Letters of Intent. Regina Salinas (Corpus Christi/Incarnate Word), Samantha Hardin (Denison/ Montgomery) and Joel Garcia (La Joya/Juarez Lincoln) signed with the Islanders in February for the Fall 2012 season.
The Islanders have won a total of eight titles as a team out of 11 conference meets. Before joining the Southland, the Islanders won four as a Division I independent conference.
For the latest information, follow Islanders Cross Country on Twitter (@IslandersTFXC) and Facebook (Texas A&M Corpus Christi Track & Field/Cross Country).