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‘One Day, One Moment’

LU cross country team seeks to improve on winning record


The LU cross country team consists of nine men and eight women whose lives revolve around the feel of their feet pounding against an open trail. Day in and day out they train to be the best, running through inclement weather, muddy trails and scorching track rubber as they visualize the finish line just ahead. Cross country coach, Tony Houchin, said there’s one thing on all their minds — returning to a championship.

After top finishes, at spots three and five, in the Aggie Invite, Sept. 22, at College Station for opening day, Houchin said he is confident in the team’s ability to come out on top by the end of the season.

“In opening at Texas A&M, this was kind of a rust-buster competition,” he said. “We have a good number of new faces on the team, people I have not seen compete. It’s good to see how they respond while in the throes of competition. They follow the race plan very well. They stayed patient and ran a very disciplined race, which was something prior to the race that I detailed to them as being very, very important.”

Houchin said he is excited to see how the team will perform the rest of the season.

LU cross country runner, Katie Buckley, passes an Aggie runner at the Texas A&M Invitational at College Station, Sept. 22. Buckley finished at the No. 12 spot.
LU cross country runner, Katie Buckley, passes an Aggie runner at the Texas A&M
Invitational at College Station, Sept. 22. Buckley finished at the No. 12 spot.

“We’re really lucky, because our sport is different than other sports, in that we don’t have a regular season win-loss record,” he said. “At the same time, it is very difficult because we have exactly one day and one moment in time to perform. If we don’t do it on that day, then the season is either a success or the season is not a success.

“For us, everything that we do is a dress rehearsal for the championship day. With what I saw this weekend, I was very happy that we were able to be very patient, disciplined and ran hard when we got to the consequential part of the race.”

Houchin said he has also seen some leaders emerge, but recognizes that everyone has an important role in team success.

“Everybody serves a role, so it it’s hard to identify any one person as a definitive leader,” he said. “Everybody brings something different to the table and everybody helps the entire group along, but you always have to have an influx of people coming. You also have to have an established set of leaders that are present to help the newcomers along, and get familiar with our expectations and things like that.”

James Stockings, Jamie Crowe, Kyle Garcia and Katie Buckley are some of the leaders Houchin named.

“Stockings is a returner from last year — he put in a great summer and has seen significant improvement,” Houchin said. “Jamie Crowe has been our No. 1 and you also have Kyle Garcia who is in his fourth year. He is a redshirt junior, but is the old man on the team. He shows everybody exactly what my expectations are.

“On the women’s side, you have Katie Buckley who has been a good leader for the women, even though this is only her second year, so everybody brings something different to the table.”

Houchin said the main goals for the season are to place first at the Southland Conference Championship and improve times at the NCAA Regional Championship.

“It’s pretty simple — you always want to keep moving in the right direction,” he said. “You always want to grow. You always want to improve and that’s what we want to do.”

The men and women’s team will compete at the Wisconsin Pre-National’s in Madison, Wis., Oct. 13, before heading to the Southland Conference Championship in Lake Charles, La., Oct. 26.

Story by Cassandra Jenkins, UP editor

Category: Sports