The men’s and women’s cross country teams are set for Monday’s Sun Belt Championship in Denton, Texas. Both teams have their sights on bringing some hardware back to Bowling Green.
The Lady Toppers speak with undoubted confidence.
“I think we’re going to win,” redshirt freshman Aimee Wellerding said.
The Lady Toppers biggest challenge will come from Arkansas-Little Rock, the defending Sun Belt champions. Western beat UALR last week at the Pre-NCAA meet in Terre Haute, Ind.
Redshirt freshman Cheyenne Carmack will run for Western at the championships, despite the fact that she hadn’t planned to run cross country at all this year.
“I didn’t expect to be running period,” Carmack said.
Carmack, primarily a 400- and 800-meter runner on Western’s track team, trains with the cross country team to stay in shape for the spring.
But after solid performances at Western’s home meet and the Pre-NCAA meet, it was obvious that Carmack could compete at distances of three miles or more.
She’ll help fill the void left by another redshirt freshman who will be out of the race. Rebecca Sanford will sit out due to doctor’s orders. Carmack will take her spot on the roster.
“They needed me to step up,” Carmack said.
The men are as eager to hit the ground running as an armadillo crossing I-35. They’ve set their lineup for the meet and expect it to be like all the races before.
“These seven guys here are pretty much the guys that have been at every meet of the year,” junior Tony Cambron said.
Like in the women’s case, defending champion Arkansas-Little Rock will provide the biggest challenge. But in the men’s case, UALR is favored.
“(Coach Long) wants us to go out and get in the front and stick with Arkansas-Little Rock as long as we can,” Cambron said.
While better up front, UALR lacks the depth that Western has.
“They’ve got five guys, then nothing else,” Cambron said. “Coach could have run eight or nine or ten different guys and our score would be the same.”
The men are confident in their chances with a strong effort Monday.
“We can win it,” redshirt freshman Ryan Howell.
Reach Adam Eadens at [email protected]