NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Loyola University New Orleans men’s and women’s cross country team head east today as they travel to Florida to compete in the Gulf Coast Stampede. This marks the third consecutive year the Wolfpack will run in Pensacola, once again hosted by the University of West Florida.
“We’re trying to continue the trend of finishing in the upper half of the team standings, just like the previous two cross country meets,” explains head coach Andy Canegitta. “The goal for the women is to have a team average time of 20:30 or below, and for the men to have a team average time of 29:00 or below.”
The meet takes place at the Escambia County Equestrian Center. The women look to improve even more on their 5K times this season, while the men will run an 8K race for the first time this year.
The ‘Pack are hoping to carry their momentum from their respective first place team finishes at the Wolfpack Invitational, and finally seek success at the Gulf Coast Stampede.
“Last year, we did not place as a team on the women’s side and the men did not execute and place well. We are ready to take the next step,” promises Canegitta. “Both the men and women in the past few workouts have looked strong and are ready to perform well in October.”
The Wolfpack has already seen West Florida once this season, as the Argos took first place in the Choctaw Season Opener in both the men’s and women’s races. The Loyola men will strive to dethrone West Florida, who comes in as defending champions in this meet as well.
Also seeking success this weekend and hoping to give the ‘Pack some trouble are Alabama State, Auburn Montgomery, Christian Brothers, Dillard, Harding, Henderson State (women), Johnson & Whales, Mobile, UNO, Ouachita Baptist (women), Southern Miss. (women), Spring Hill, Valdosta State, West Alabama, William Carey, and Xavier.
The women kick off the morning at 7:30 a.m., followed by the men at 8 a.m. The course is described as very wide with 60% grass, 40% trail, and mostly flat. The fastest 5K time for the women at the Gulf Coast Stampede was Hannah Dougherty in 2009 with 20:20. The fastest 8K time for the men was Kenny Tsao in 2010 with 29:28.
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