Cross Country Bears, Sugar Bears finish out 2011 season in ninth place

The Bears cross country teams finished out the 2011 season by finishing ninth out of 12 teams in the Southland Cross Country Championship.
Coach Richard Martin said that the two teams competed well at the conference meet.
“That’s about where we’ve been ever since we’ve gotten in this conference. I think our highest finish might have been in seventh place. Hopefully, next year we will be in at least the top five,” Martin said.
Martin said that there were five other meets that the teams competed in. Those meets were to prepare the teams for the conference meet at the end of the season. Martin said that there were approximately 15 girls on the team.
“During the regular season, all 15 of them could run, but at the conference meet, only eight could run. So we keep up with everybody’s time during each meet, and we decide whoever hast the fastest top eight times out of the 15, who will run at the conference meet,” Martin said.
This was senior Emily Parker’s last year to run with the women’s cross country team.
“I love this team, and I’ve just matured as a runner this year,” Parker said. “It’s a blast. It’s really just a great group of girls and it’s like a sleepover all the time.”
Overall, Martin said he was satisfied with the way the teams competed this season, but he said that he hopes the teams make it into the top five of the conference.
“We didn’t reach our goal, but they competed well, but we had some injuries,” Martin said.
Martin said that one of the top runners for the women’s team was sick and was only able to run in the meet at Chile Pepper and at the conference meet.
In order for the cross country teams to go to regionals, they had to finish in the top six, which was the goal for the teams this year.
This was sophomore Calvin Jones’ first year running for UCA. He ran for the University of the Ozarks last year.
“I was able to run consistently throughout the year and serve as a dependable third or fourth man during each race respectively. My times have not stood out compared to times I’ve run in the past, but have been consistent enough to prove myself on the team,” Jones said.
Martin said that there are two meets that the teams typically want to do well at.
“One meet we want to good at is in Memphis,” Martin said. “Christian Brothers University usually puts it on, and there are usually 30 to 40 teams over there, Division I, II and III teams are there. The Chile Pepper Festival is another one. There are teams from all over the United States. Those are the two big meets.”
Both Jones and Martin said they have high expectations for the 2012 cross country season.
“Next cross country season, our goal is to finish in the top five. We are trying to recruit some really strong freshmen runners because we’re going to lose four seniors that are on the women’s team,” Martin said. “We are trying to replace those four with top-quality freshmen that can come next year and help us.”

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