Cross country teams ready to run
For immediate release . . . September 5, 2006
NEW ORLEANS — The cross country teams at Xavier University of Louisiana are on the run again.
After missing the 2005 season because of Hurricane Katrina, second-year coach Joseph Moses' men and women will be the first Xavier teams of 2006-07 to resume intercollegiate athletic competition. The Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets will open their season Saturday (September 9) in the Southern University Invitational at Baton Rouge, La.
Xavier will compete against a pair of NCAA Division I schools from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Southern and Mississippi Valley. The two-mile women's race will begin at 9 a.m. on the Southern campus, and the three-mile men's race will start at 9:45.
Recent seasons have been good for Xavier's men and women. Neither squad finished lower than second in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Championships from 2002-04, with the Nuggets winning their first-ever championship in 2002.
Can Xavier maintain its high standing in 2006? The women — who return five letter-winners, including all-conference performers Ashley Broden, Lonique Moore and Amani Harlee — appear to have the better chance. On the men's team, all-GCAC runner Joshua Miles is the only returning letterman.
Broden, a junior from Baton Rouge, was the Nuggets' fastest finisher in the final three meets of 2004. She placed fifth in the GCAC after running 5,000 meters in 20 minutes, 55 seconds, then ran 16th in the NAIA Region XIII meet two weeks later. Harlee, the Nuggets' only senior, will try to become the third Xavier female to earn all-GCAC honors three times. She can accomplish that by finishing in the top 12 of the conference meet.
Also back are juniors Stacey Young, Xavier's fastest finisher in the first three '04 meets, and Mimi Mornay. The lone newcomer is sophomore Ebony Harding, a teammate of Broden in high school and whose best prep times are comparable to Broden's Xavier marks.
On the men's team, Miles, a senior from New Orleans, was all-GCAC in '04 for the second consecutive year after running 8,000 meters in 29:52.48 and finishing fourth at the league meet. He then ran nearly 10 seconds faster on the same course and finished 15th at the NAIA regionals.
Making their Xavier debut will be freshman Chase Guidry and sophomores Chris Butler, Joe Drexler-Dreis, Bryan Khan and Darren Wallace. Drexler-Dreis is a transfer from Miami (Fla.); Butler, Khan and Wallace were recruited to Xavier a year ago but unable to compete because of the hurricane, which hit New Orleans five days before the 2005 season opener.
All Xavier meets will be out of town and all but one will be run on Saturdays. The exception will be the Ragin' Cajun Invite on Friday, September 15 in Lafayette, La.
Xavier University of Louisiana • New Orleans
University Web site: www.xula.edu
Athletics Web site: www.xula.edu/athletics
Athletics news: www.xula.edu/athletics/news