Cross Country Set for South Central Regional Championships

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CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi cross country teams will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete at the NCAA South Central Regionals on Friday, Nov. 9. The women's 6k will begin at 11 a.m. and the men's 10k race will follow at 12:15 p.m. at Agri Park, the home course to the University of Arkansas. The top two teams and top four individuals that are not on a team that advances will receive an automatic berth to the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships in Louisville, Ky. Last season, Patrick Kimeli qualified for the second straight year in the men's 10k.  

In the Running: The women's team will face 22 teams in the South Central Region while the men will take on 21 opponents from eight difference conferences. Here's a look at the South Central Regional rankings and how each team finished in their respective conference championships: 

Men:                                                  

1. Texas (2nd, Big 12)

2. Arkansas (1st, SEC)

3. Texas A&M (3rd, SEC)

4. McNeese State (1st, Southland)

5. Lamar (2nd, Southland)

6. UT Arlington (1st, WAC)

7. Rice (3rd, Conference USA)

8. Stephen F. Austin (3rd, Southland)

9. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi (4th, Southland)

10. Central Arkansas (5th, Southland)

11. UTSA (6th, WAC)

12. Baylor (7th, Big 12)

13. Ark. - Little Rock (1st, Sun Belt)

14. North Texas (2nd, Sun Belt) 

Women:

1. Arkansas (2nd, SEC)

2. Texas (3rd, Big 12)

3. SMU (1st, Conference USA)

4. LSU (7th, SEC)

5. Texas A&M (8th, SEC)

6. TCU (5th, Big 12)

7. UTSA (2nd, WAC)

8. Baylor (8th, Big 12)

9. Arkansas State (2nd, Sun Belt)

10. Rice (4th, Conference USA)

11. Stephen F. Austin (1st, Southland)

12. Sam Houston State (2nd, Southland)

13. Lamar (3rd, Southland)

14. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi (4th, Southland)

15. UT Arlington (5th, WAC) 

2011 South Central Regionals: Last season, the Islanders ran in Waco, Texas, and Patrick Kimeli finished in seventh place in the men's 10k at the South Central Regional Championships to qualify for the NCAA National Championships. Kimeli crossed the line with a time of 30:55.9 to become the sixth runner in the last seven years to represent the Islanders at the NCAA Championships.  

The No. 9 South Central Regional ranked men's team finished in ninth place with 255 points, two points behind Stephen F. Austin. No. 1-ranked Texas finished in first place with 40 points while No. 3-ranked Texas A&M finished in second with 56 points. No. 2-ranked Arkansas finished in third place (65 points) while Lamar (93 points) and UTSA (196) rounded out the top five.   

The women's squad finished the 6k race in 10th place, five spots back from their No. 5 South Central Regional ranking. The Islanders finished four points behind Stephen F. Austin (298 points). No. 2-ranked Arkansas won with 49 points and No. 1-ranked Texas finished in second with 69 points. Texas A&M placed third (90 points) while SMU (128 points) and Rice (129 points) rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth place. 

Women's 6k: Just two Islanders from the 2011 team returns to regionals. BreAnna Briggs and Cecilia Jones are back to run for the women's team. Last season, Briggs clocked a time of 22:44.0 to place 58th and Jones finished with a time of 22:57.2 to place 69th. Joining Briggs and Jones are Jasmine Boutte, Alexandra Fernandez, Kayla Fischer, Vanessa Galindo, Samantha Hardin, Ashley Mills, Alexandria Rossi, Regina Salinas and Maeghen Wedgeworth 

Men's 10k: The men return four members from the 2011 team. Joining Kimeli are Christoph Hintz, Valentinas Rudys and Paul Hansel. Last season, behind Kimeli was Rudys in 71st place with a time of 33:20.3, followed by Hintz with a time of 33:36.7 and Hansel with a time of 33:37.7.  

Familiar Course: The Islanders are familiar with the course at Agri Park after competing in the Chile Pepper Invite on Oct. 26. The men made history by clocking a third-place finish out of 34 teams in the 10k, marking their best finish in school history at Agri Park. The women's team placed 21st out of 43 teams in the 6k and second in the Southland Conference. 

Islanders in the Rankings: In the latest USTFCCCA South Central regional rankings the women's team sits in 14th place while the men are ranked ninth. 

2012 Southland Conference Championships: Two weeks ago at the Southland Conference Championships both the men's and women's cross country teams clocked fourth-place finishes at Tyrrell Park, hosted by Lamar. The men's team all clocked individual personal-best times while Briggs and Jones earned a spot on the women's all-conference team. Kimeli earned his third straight all-conference honor with a fourth-place finish. 

Kimeli Looking to Return: Last season, Kimeli punched his ticket for the second straight year to the 2011 NCAA National Championships after placing seventh in the men's 10k at the South Central Regional Championships in Waco, Texas. He finished strong at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships in 82nd place out of 255 runners in the men's 10k with a time of 30:39.4 in Terre Haute, Ind. Kimeli improved 22 spots from his 2010 finish and placed second among the five individuals competing out of the South Central Region. 

Islanders Head Coach Shawn Flanagan is in his 12th season as the head coach of the Islanders cross country team and 32nd season as a Division I coach. Flanagan started the cross country program in 2000. He has won four Southland women's titles, four Independent women's titles and three Independent men's titles.  Altogether, Flanagan holds 30 Conference titles as head coach, including the 19 conference titles he won at UTSA. He also sealed three conference titles as an assistant coach at the University of Texas, totaling 33 Conference Championships to his name. 

2012 Season: This season the Islanders have performed well at their five meets. At the UTPA Bronc Relays, both the men and the women took the top spots. At the Rice Invite, the women's team placed third in the 4k and the men's team clocked a fourth-place finish in the 6k. At the Islanders Splash, the men and women both swept the top spot. The men's team clinched first place by one point over Southland opponent Central Arkansas, marking the third straight year the Islanders have won the Islanders Splash. The women's team also topped Central Arkansas to bring home the title, after finishing second at last year's Splash. The men's team made history at the Chile Pepper Festival, clocking a third-place finish out of 34 teams in the 10k at the 24th Annual Chile Pepper Festival, marking their best finish in school history at Agri Park. The women's team placed 21st out of 43 teams in the 6k and second in the Southland Conference. At the Southland Conference Championships two weeks ago, both teams placed fourth while Briggs, Jones and Kimeli all placed in the top 10 to earn all-conference honors. 

Keep up with the Islanders: For the latest information, follow Islanders Cross Country on Twitter (@IslandersTFXC) and Facebook (Texas A&M Corpus Christi Track & Field/Cross Country).