FORT WORTH, TEXAS (Sept. 21, 2013) -- After the Our Lady of the Lake University's (OLLU) cross-country team's meet in New Summerfield, Texas, was cancelled due to weather conditions, the Saints took a traveling detour to Fort Worth, Texas, to participate in the 4th Annual Ram Rumble at Texas Wesleyan University on Saturday.
Fellow Red River Athletic Conference members the University of Texas at Brownsville and Langston University were also participating in the meet, so, according to Head Coach Stephen Sherman, "it was important for us to square off with them." On the women's side, OLLU, UTB and Langston represent the top three conference teams.
Head Coach Stephen Sherman said, "I am pleased with how the team handled the somewhat chaotic nature of this weekend. In hindsight, from a coaching perspective, it was the perfect amount of adversity to expose them to, and they responded well.
On the men's side, 25 runners were on the docket. Saints' freshman Jonathan Yanez finished fourth with a time of 27:21.00. Sophomore Nicholas Chapa finished in 13th place with a 30:46.13 time. In 18th place was freshman Jose Mancera with a time of 31:17.26.
Sherman said, "Each of the guys had breakout performances today. I am very pleased with their respective performances. They all took off rather huge chunks of time from Abilene, and they competed well with the men from UT Brownsville. Obviously, we still need to continue to work hard and keep improving, but today was a good day."
In the 5k women's run, 32 participants were on the program. Freshman Ceara O'Donnell finished in fourth place with a 20:49.99 time. Senior Alexandria De Luna came in 12th with a 21:30.77 time. Freshman Ione Rodriguez followed in 15th place with a 22:10.20 time. In 19th place was Bianca Renteria with a time of 22:54.29. Bonnie Perez came in 22nd with a time of 23:17.65. As a team, the Saints finished third out of five teams.
Sherman said, "It was a bittersweet race for us. We beat a solid conference team in Langston, but we were easily out-classed by UT Brownsville. I do not feel like the girls competed very well on the back end of the race, and that is something we are going to need to fix if we want to win the conference. That said, the RRAC meet is in November, not September, so though statements were made by each respective team with their performances today, it is still too early to ultimately define any of us. I still believe we are going to win the RRAC, but it does not matter what I believe; it only matters what the girls believe."
Both teams will take a few weeks off before their next meet. On Oct. 12, the Saints will participate in the University of the Incarnate Word Invitational in San Antonio.
The NAIA Champions of Character program aims to instill five core values in NAIA athletes, coaches: respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership, and sportsmanship. Our Lady of the Lake University shares and supports these values and strives to promote the Champions of Character program by working with students, coaches through our Champions of Character educational program. For more information on the Champions of Character program, click here: www.championsofcharacter.org.
Luis A. Lárraga
Sports Information Assistant