MONROE, LA - For the first time in recent memory the Arkansas State cross country teams swept away the competition taking first-place honors in both the men's and women's races Saturday at the ULM Warkhawk Cross Country Festival.
In the duel format scoring both teams finished 3-0 to take first place. ASU's unofficial scores in the traditional invitational system would have been 23 on the women's side and 27 on the men's side.
"We felt like we had a chance to win both meets and we did," said ASU head coach Lon Badeaux. "We haven't won a meet since I have been here so it is great for us to do that."
The course was one of the biggest opponents the Red Wolves had as 15-straight days of rain had saturated the ground of the course which is a converted golf course, causing mud and puddles to slow the competitors.
"The course was in very bad shape, they have had 15 days straight of rain, so it was a lot of standing water everywhere," said Badeaux. "Every step the runners took their feet were completely covered in mud so the times were 3-4 minutes slow on the men's side and 2-3 slow on women's."
ASU's success is a good sign of things to come as the same course will be the host site of the Sun Belt Conference Championship in October.
In the women's race ASU placed five of its eight athletes in the top nine with Chelsea Weaver and Samantha Salinas taking first and second places respectively. Sydney Foreman finished in fifth place with Reily McAtee in sixth and Dawn L'Heureux in ninth.
"I was very impressed with the women's efforts today. Coming in we thought they should be the team to beat and were curious to see how many could finish in top positions. Obviously, they did not disappoint," said assistant coach Kyle Chandler.
James Ngwiri placed second in the men's race. Ngwiri led most of the competition but according to Badeaux he just got out kicked in the last 100 meters. Coming in sixth for ASU was Henry Ndichu and Bailey Bunyan was ninth helping lead the Red Wolves to victory.
"I loved the course," said Ngwiri. "It is one of my favorites. The mud and wet water pools made it more interesting."
"We are going to be taking a step up next week at Louisville, one of the best meets of the nation. We will be able to see where we are running against better teams and higher levels of competition."
ASU races next at the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 3.