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In the Mississippi Valley,
In the Crescent Bend
Stands our loved and noble Xavier,
Far her praises send.
Wave her colors bear them onward
Gold and white so true
Hail to thee, all hail, dear Xavier
Hail, all hail, X.U.!
Xavier, ever be our guide
And lead us on the way,
Through life's journey, onward, upward
To the eternal day. (Refrain)
Jackson siblings lead Xavier to sixth straight GCAC titles
October 22, 2011
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
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 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.
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.