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2014 Xavier University of Louisiana Women's Cross Country Preview
What can Gold Nuggets' Fakler do for an encore?

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     Xavier University of Louisiana's Catherine Falker not only was the best women's cross country runner in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference last year — she also was the best in Louisiana, as voted on by a panel of the state's sports publicists. Fakler was the first XU female athlete to be chosen the best in Louisiana.
     Fakler returns for her senior season in 2014 and a shot at additional benchmarks.
About the Gold Nuggets

Head Coach:  Joseph Moses (LSU 1994), 10th season; 250-370-1 at Xavier
2013 Overall Record:  19-10
2013 GCAC Finish:  1st place out of 5 schools
2013 NAIA Finish:  individuals only
Letterwomen:  5 returning, 3 lost
     "Catherine is capable of making All-America this year," 10th-year XU coach Joseph Moses said. "To do that she'll need a top-30 finish at nationals. But Catherine's a veteran, and she's made tremendous improvement since she's been at Xavier. I believe she can handle this."
     Fakler — a 4.0 student who ran a school-record 18 minutes, 8.32 seconds for 5,000 meters in winning the individual title at the 2013 GCAC Championships — is one of five returning letterwomen trying to extend a dynasty. Like the XU men, the Gold Nuggets have won eight consecutive GCAC team championships. They posted double-digit winning margins every year of the streak, including 55 points in 2013 and 63 points in 2012.
     Like Fakler, the other four returnees — Hannah Finnegan, Reeka Belton, Hali Yarmush and Briana Simms — have been All-GCAC every season of their college careers. They finished 4-5-6-7 at the conference meet a year ago. Yarmush is the team's other senior, and Finnegan and Simms are juniors.
     "We have a strong nucleus," Moses said, "and we're working hard to get even better."
     Simms (19:38.78), Yarmush (20:01.20) and Finnegan (20:02.61) ran their best collegiate 5K times at the 2012 GCAC Championships.
     Also back is Ashley Flournoy, a redshirt freshman who did not compete last fall. The Nuggets' only newcomer is Carlee Calais, a 2013 Louisiana Class 4A champion in outdoor track at 800 meters.
     The GCAC team champion will qualify automatically for the NAIA National Championships on Nov. 22 at Lawrence, Kan. Xavier's team reached nationals four of the past six seasons and last year sent two individuals, including Fakler, who placed a school-record 68th out of 319 finishers. The GCAC meet will be Oct. 18 at City Park in New Orleans, and Xavier will be the host school.
     Xavier will compete five times before the conference meet and begin the season Aug. 29 at City Park in the Xavier Big Easy Opener.


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, tennis and track and field and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis, track and field and volleyball.

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
Xavier University of Louisiana
1 Drexel Drive
Campus Box 92
New Orleans, LA 70125
(504) 520-7329 phone
(504) 520-7934 fax

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