UCA women, SLU men capture 2020 Southland Cross Country Titles

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ACU’s Irene Rono captures women’s individual title, SLU’s Shea Foster nabs men’s individual crown

HAMMOND, La. – The 2020 Southland Conference Cross Country Championships were completed Sunday morning on the Southeastern Louisiana campus in Hammond, La.

For the second consecutive year, the women’s team title was secured by Central Arkansas after the Bears nabbed 86 points in the team standings. The men’s crown will remain in Hammond as Southeastern Louisiana registered five finishers among the top 15, sealing its first team title in program history.

Abilene Christian sophomore Irene Rono captured the women’s individual championship, crossing the finish line with a 20:36.52 in the women’s 6k event and averaging a 5.32-mile pace. SLU’s Shea Foster earned the men’s Athlete of the Year crown with 22:41.16 first-place finish in the men’s 8k race.

After capturing the women’s individual title Rono garners women’s Southland Athlete of the Year honors. UIW’s Andrea Acuna is the women’s Freshman of the Year after a 19th-place finish, while New Orleans’ Anna Dohmen finished 11th overall to be named women’s Newcomer of the Year. Central Arkansas’ Beau Theriot was named the women’s Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to their second title in program history.

Rono (ACU), Arina Kleshchukova (UNO), Sophie Daigle (SLU), Kelsey Ramirez (SFA) and Valentina Campos (TAMU-CC) fill out the women’s first team all-conference roster. A total of nine schools were represented on the women’s all-conference teams.

In addition to Foster’s male Athlete of the Year honor and the Lions’ team title, Southeastern Louisiana head coach Corey Mistretta was named men’s Coach of the Year. McNeese’s Gideon Cheplak finished second overall, earning men’s Newcomer of the Year honors. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Dennis Kipngeno placed third individually to be named men’s Freshman of the Year.

Southeastern Louisiana registered five men’s all-conference honorees, led by first-teamers Foster and Grant O’Callaghan. McNeese’s Cheplak, New Orleans’ Kolyn Saltzman and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Kipngeno filled out the remaining three spots on the men’s first team all-conference roster. There were eight schools represented among the men’s all-conference teams.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no NCAA Regional Championship. Competitors at the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Championships will be selected by the Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Committee. For athletes who qualify, the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Championships will be hosted Monday, March 15 at the OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Okla.
2020 Southland Championship Team Finishes:

Women Men
1. Central Arkansas 1. Southeastern Louisiana
2. Abilene Christian 2. Stephen F. Austin
3. Stephen F. Austin 3. Lamar
4. New Orleans 4. New Orleans
5. UIW 5. Central Arkansas
6. McNeese 6. McNeese
7. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 7. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
8. Nicholls 8. Abilene Christian
9. Southeastern Louisiana 9. Sam Houston
10. Sam Houston 10. UIW
11. Houston Baptist 11. Houston Baptist
12. Lamar 12. Nicholls

Individual Superlatives:

Women
Freshman of the Year – Andrew Acuna, UIW
Newcomer of the Year – Anna Dohmen, UNO
Coach of the Year – Beau Theriot, UCA
Athlete of the Year – Irene Rono, ACU

Men
Freshman of the Year – Dennis Kipngeno, TAMU-CC
Newcomer of the Year – Gideon Cheplak, MCN
Coach of the Year – Corey Mistretta, SLU
Athlete of the Year – Shea Foster, SLU


Women’s All-Conference Teams
First Team
Name Class School
Irene Rono So. Abilene Christian
Arina Kleshchukova Jr. New Orleans
Valentina Campos Sr. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Kelsey Ramirez Sr. Stephen F. Austin
Sophie Daigle Sr. Southeastern Louisiana

Second Team
Name Class School
Tamara Reeves So. Central Arkansas
Cryslan Tucker R-So. Sam Houston
Elsa Rijpstra So. Nicholls
Quin Johnson Sr. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Sara Steimel So. Central Arkansas

Third Team
Name Class School
Anna Dohmen Jr. New Orleans
Aurelia Jepkorir So. McNeese
Kennedy Timmerman Jr. Central Arkansas
Briahna Gerlach Sr. Abilene Christian
Bonnie Andres So. McNeese

Men’s All-Conference Teams
First Team
Name Class School
Shea Foster Sr. Southeastern Louisiana
Gideon Cheplak Jr. McNeese
Dennis Kipngeno So. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Kolyn Saltzman So. New Orleans
Grant O’Callaghan Sr. Southeastern Louisiana

Second Team
Name Class School
Eli Peveto Fr. Lamar
Jaden Forester Fr. New Orleans
Adam Cortez Sr. Southeastern Louisiana
Andrew Bosquez Sr. Sam Houston
Bradley Makuvire So. Southeastern Louisiana

Third Team
Name Class School
Anthony Cordero Sr. Southeastern Louisiana
Alex Hanson Gr. Central Arkansas
Parker Jones So. Stephen F. Austin
Henry Kiplagat Sr. McNeese
Lewis Mills So. Stephen F. Austin

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