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College Round-Up: Cross Country for Oct. 25

Lady Lions Look To Contend For Conference Title

FORT SMITH — Since becoming an active member of NCAA Division II three seasons ago, the UAFS women’s cross country team has continued to make strides in becoming a contender for the Heartland Conference title.

This year, the Lady Lions will look to challenge the conference’s elite teams after finishing seventh in 2011 and fourth last year in the conference meet. UAFS will be one of 10 teams competing in the 6k event, which is hosted by Dallas Baptist and begins at 8:30 a.m. at Mansfield, Texas.

All conference schools will be allowed to compete in the meet, including provisional NCAA Division II members. However, provisional NCAA Division II members – Lubbock Christian, McMurry, Oklahoma Christian and Rogers State – are not eligible to win the conference title, so their runners’ times will be kept but not counted toward the final points for the championship.

The Lady Lions haven’t competed since Oct. 12 when they finished third in the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational at the Gordon Cooper Vo-Tech Center in Shawnee, Okla., but they have been training rigorously in the meantime for the conference meet.

UAFS has enjoyed its most successful season in the program’s five-year history with Top 10 finishes in each of its four meets, including the program’s first win. The Lady Lions won the University of the Ozarks Invitational, topping a field of six in-state schools from the NCAA Division II and III and NAIA ranks.

Junior Kelsea Geschwentner and sophomore Katy Carter have set the pace for the Lady Lions this season.

Geschwentner led UAFS during each of the four meets and made history this season by becoming the first Lady Lion runner to win a meet – the University of the Ozarks Invitational. Carter, who earned All-Conference honors as a freshman, was second on the team in three of the four meets and third in the other.

Lions Look To Contend For Conference Title

FORT SMITH — UAFS has posted consecutive third-place finishes in the Heartland Conference Men’s Cross Country Championship Meet since becoming an active member of NCAA Division II two seasons ago.

First-year Lions coach Justin Bailey is excited about his Lions’ chances of contending for one of the top two spots this season. UAFS will be one of 10 teams competing on Saturday in the conference meet that will be hosted by Dallas Baptist in Mansfield, Texas.

Dallas Baptist is the three-time defending champion, but the Patriots finished tied with the Newman Jets last year for the championship. Bailey said those two are the teams to beat again this year.

The Lions haven’t competed since Oct. 12 when they finished sixth in the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational at the Gordon Cooper Vo-Tech Center in Shawnee, Okla., but they have been training rigorously in the meantime for the conference meet.

UAFS has finished in the Top 5 in two of the four meets it competed in this fall, including the program’s first win in its five-year history. The Lions won the University of the Ozarks Invitational on Sept. 28 in Clarksville beating a four-team field made up of in-state NCAA Division II and III teams and NAIA teams.

Senior twin brothers TaBaris and TaTaris Earnest have lead the Lions the entire season. Early on, TaBaris Earnest was the front-runner, but lately, it’s been TaTaris Earnest in the top spot.

Hendrix retains Crystal Trophy

CLARKSVILLE — For the second straight year, the Hendrix College men’s and women’s cross country teams won the Crystal Trophy in the Arkansas Division III Championships against the University of the Ozarks on Wednesday.

The Warrior women bested the Eagles 11-27, while Ozarks edged Hendrix in the men’s race 17-19.

Hendrix junior Nicholle Cromwell took first place with a 5k time of 20:18.50. The Houston, Texas, native shaved 1:11 off her previous season-best 5k time. Freshman Dani Aguilar-Ramirez was second and freshman Sophie Kataz was third. Sophomore Constance Robinson finished fourth and sophomore Haley Stratt was seventh.

Sophomore Jeffrey Scott led the men’s team with a 4.1 mile time of 22:20.70, placing second. Freshman Cam Meek was fourth and sophomore Andy McCall was fifth. Junior Marcel Douglas placed eighth and senior Ryan Flores was ninth.

Hendrix will run in the Southern Athletic Association Championships on Nov. 2 in Mount Berry, Ga.

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