FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sam Houston State cross country’s Chris Speaks captured 13th at the NCAA South Central Regionals among the 142-member field while Ana Moreno took 33rd of 144 competitions to highlight action on Friday morning.
The Bearkats, who were among 20 teams at Arkansas’s Agri Park, placed 13th with a total of 357 points on the women’s side in the 6K while the men took 14th at 312 points in the 10K.
Speaks, a Second-Team All-Southland Conference honoree, was named to the All-South Central Region squad – an accolade designated to those who finish in the top 25 – after running a time of 30:52.2. The senior picked up 12 points for the Bearkats while finishing as the top Southland competitor at the event.
The 13th-place finisher ranks as the second-best finish by a Sam Houston athlete at the NCAA South Central Regionals and best mark since Miguel Gonzales took 12th in 1992.
Meanwhile, Moreno, who earned First-Team All-Southland Conference with a runner-up finish in her last outing at the league championships, ran a 21:41.9, the fourth-fastest mark among league foes. The finisher ranks tied for fourth in Sam Houston lore and is the best result for a Bearkat since Kacey Phillips and Katrina Mancias took 20th and 30th respectively in 2000.
Teammate Olivia Olguin secured a 50th-place finisher, moving ahead 14 spots to gain his position for a time of 22:13.5. The senior, who was also a First-Team All-Southland Conference honoree, capped a decorated career with the finisher.
Jeffrey Moore took home a 71st-place finish and time of 32:31.0 followed closely behind by Evan Arambula who ran 32:34.6 to finish in 74th. Alex Hernandez secured 88th at 33:00.2 to cap a strong sophomore campaign while Grant Buley went 94th at 33:08.2.
Cameron Theriot finished 127th with a time of 35:02.7 followed by John Bounds who took 130th with a mark of 35:36.6.
For the women, Hannah Tarrant pushed ahead to 81st with a time of 23:12.1 and Briana McCall took 103rd after vaulting ahead 27 spots and a time of 23:49.2. Lizzy Duenes secured 107th and a time of 23:54.4 while Kassandra Luna went 116th at 24:28.1 and Holly Pierce took 127th with 24:30.1.
Coach Jesse Parker on the performance from Chris Speaks…
“At the beginning of the year, we sat down and decided we were going to try to make regions and qualify for nationals. He was rounding into shape at the right time. When we moved up from the 8K to the 10K it was even more in his favor. He moved up to 37th at the 6K and obviously finished 13th. He ran a very smart and intelligent race. We might have been too conservative at the start but he moved up great throughout the race. The top four individuals not on a qualifying team quality and he ended up being the sixth individual. He came up a hair short of qualifying for the nationals.”
Coach Jesse Parker on the performance from Ana Moreno…
“Ana ran a good race. We were hoping she could be in the top 25. I don’t believe any Sam Houston athlete has ever been in the top 25. She ran a good race. When you’re racing at this level, the difference between a good and great race can make a difference. It was a good strong performance. Just like Chris, this is one of the better performances we’ve ever had. It was a good trip.”