XU sweeps individual, team titles at GCAC Championships
Team titles are fourth in a row for Nuggets, Rush
November 7, 2009
CLINTON, Miss. — Xavier University of Louisiana
swept the individual and team titles of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Choctaw Trails.
Ebony Harding, a three-time runner-up in this event,
won the women's 5,000-meter race in 19 minutes, 41.33 seconds and led the Gold
Nuggets to their fourth consecutive team championship.
The Gold Rush also won its fourth straight team title
and had the top four finishers in the 8,000-meter men's race. Sophomore
Ray Walston, the runner-up in 2008, won in 27:55.18.
Both Xavier teams earned automatic berths in the 2009
NAIA Men's and Women's Cross Country National Championships at Vancouver, Wash.,
on Nov. 21. It'll be the second straight year the Nuggets and Rush compete at nationals.
The top 10 finishers in each race were named all-conference,
and Xavier had four in both divisions. Joining Harding on the women's All-GCAC team were
teammates Sabrina Vargas (seventh place, 21:07.71), Anna D'Souza (ninth, 21:24.01)
and Brianna Dekine (10th, 21:29.21).
Gold Rush runners on the men's All-GCAC team were Walston,
Mark Dotson (second, 28:00.84), Darren Wallace (third, 28:39.63) and Matt Pieri (fourth, 28:40.78).
Wallace was all-conference for the fourth time, like Harding, and he placed among the
top five men a fourth time.
Harding, winning for the first time as a collegian,
never was passed after leading at the one-mile mark. She won by nearly
five seconds over runner-up Hannah Dougherty (19:46.26) of Loyola. Spring Hill's Kate
Imwalle, the 2008 champion as a freshman, placed third in 19:52.46 —
more than a minute slower than a year ago at this same venue.
Walston's closing kick gave him the men's title after
running side-by-side with Dotson for the majority of the race.
XU's women won the team title with 38 points. Spring Hill
was second with 55 points, and Loyola was third with 60.
The Rush used its 1-2-3-4 finish to score 25 points, the fewest
by a GCAC men's champion since 1998. Spring Hill was second with 43 points, and Belhaven
and Loyola each scored 84 to tie for third.
It was the first time since 2004 and the second time in 10 seasons
that a GCAC member swept the individual and team championships.
Xavier teams with the most consecutive conference championships|
|6||Men's Outdoor Track and Field||Southern Intercollegiate Athletic||1938-43|
|5||Women's Basketball Regular Season||Gulf Coast Athletic||1994-98|
|5||Women's Basketball Tournament||Gulf Coast Athletic||1994-98|
|4||Women's Cross Country||Gulf Coast Athletic||2006-09|
|4||Men's Cross Country||Gulf Coast Athletic||2006-09|
|4||Women's Tennis||Gulf Coast Athletic||2003-07|
|4||Men's Tennis||Gulf Coast Athletic||2005-09|