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Jackson siblings lead Xavier to sixth straight GCAC titles
October 22, 2011

Results:  Men    Women

     CLINTON, Miss. — Freshman siblings Zahri and Kwame Jackson won individual championships for Xavier University of Louisiana at the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships on Saturday.
     Both Xavier teams won their sixth consecutive GCAC team championships — the women by 34 points, the men by 41 — and both earned automatic bids to the NAIA National Championships for the third time in four years. The national meet will be Nov. 19 in Vancouver, Wash.
     Zahri Jackson ran 5,000 meters in 19 minutes, 20.40 seconds to defeat 40 women — including SUNO's Monicah Jepkemboi, the defending champion — and score her second consecutive individual victory. Jepkemboi, the leader until the final 175 yards, was second in 19:31.69. XU freshman Catherine Fakler was third in a career-best 19:32.56.
     "I never led until I passed (Jepkemboi) at the end of the race," Jackson said. "I stayed within three feet of her until then. I just ran her pace. You never know for sure if you can outsprint someone at the end. You've just got to have faith in yourself and go."
     Jackson recorded the third-fastest 5K in XU women's history and owns the program's fastest three times. Jackson has five top-10 finishes and four top-fives in seven collegiate meets. Her time Saturday was the second-fastest in 11 seasons by a female at the GCAC Championships.
     Kwame Jackson ran 8,000 meters in 28:12.09 to defeat 37 men and score his first collegiate victory. It was his fifth top-10 and third top-five this season. He finished about 5˝ seconds ahead of senior teammate Ray Walston, the 2009 GCAC champion, and nearly 31 seconds ahead of junior teammate Matt Pieri, the defending champion. Walston was GCAC runner-up for the third time. Pieri was top-four for the third straight year.
     XU coach Joseph Moses said Pieri, the Gold Rush's fastest runner four times this season, was hampered by a calf injury he suffered this week during a workout.
     "Had Matt been healthy, I would've expected a different outcome today because he had run well this season," Moses said. "But Kwame was clearly capable of winning. He ran a strong race, a smart race. Kwame's a worthy champion."
     Based on top-10 finishes in this meet, Xavier produced six women's and six men's All-GCAC runners. Joining Zahri Jackson and Fakler among the All-GCAC women were Anna D'Souza (fifth place, career-best 20:24.93), Darian Towns (sixth, Xavier-best 20:36.68), Hali Yarmush (seventh, 20:42.77) and Donyé Coleman (ninth, 20:55.23). D'Souza became the third Gold Nugget to be All-GCAC four times, and it was her third top-five at the league meet.
     On the All-GCAC men's team from Xavier were Kwame Jackson, Walston (28:17.63), Pieri (28:43.04), Javon Mead (fifth, 29:07.21), Emmanuel Detiege (eighth, 30:27.72) and Jamaal Williams (ninth, 30:33.35). Of the seven XU freshmen, all four from the women's team and all three from the men's team made all-conference.
     Moses, in his seventh season at XU, was selected GCAC Coach of the Year by his peers for the fifth time on the women's side and the sixth time on the men's.
     The six straight GCAC championships for the Gold Nuggets and Gold Rush mark the third and fourth times that a Xavier program has won that many in a row on the league or NAIA unaffiliated group level. Xavier won six consecutive Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships in men's outdoor track and field from 1938-43. The men's tennis program has an active streak of six straight — GCAC titles in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and an NAIA unaffiliated group championship in 2011.

    
Xavier's Zahri Jackson pulls away in the final 175 yards from defending champion Monicah Jepkemboi of SUNO 
 to win the GCAC individual women's championship.

Xavier's Zahri Jackson pulls away in the final 175 yards from defending champion Monicah Jepkemboi of SUNO to win the GCAC individual women's championship by more than 11 seconds.

Xavier's Kwame Jackson, left, defeated teammates and former GCAC champions Ray Walston, center,
 and Matt Pieri, right, in the men's race.

Xavier's Kwame Jackson, left, defeated teammates and former GCAC champions Ray Walston, center, and Matt Pieri, right, in the men's race.

The Gold Nuggets celebrate with their awards. From left: Hali Yarmush, Zahri Jackson, 
 Ashley Taylor, Catherine Fakler, Anna D'Souza, Paige Rochelle, Donyé Coleman and Darian Towns.

The Gold Nuggets celebrate with their awards. From left: Hali Yarmush, Zahri Jackson, Ashley Taylor, Catherine Fakler, Anna D'Souza, Paige Rochelle, Donyé Coleman and Darian Towns.

From left, at the victory stand are Gold Rush runners  Emmanuel Detiege, Kwame Jackson, 
 Ray Walston, Javon Mead, Matt Pieri, Jamaal Williams and Charles Shaw.

From left, at the victory stand are Gold Rush runners Emmanuel Detiege, Kwame Jackson, Ray Walston, Javon Mead, Matt Pieri, Jamaal Williams and Charles Shaw.

 

 
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

The Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets compete in Division I of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Xavier fields men's teams in basketball, cross country and tennis and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis and volleyball.

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