Team trips at weekend race, trains for NCAA in November

The Horned Frogs, who finished the Mountain West Conference Championships on Saturday, are preparing for the NCAA South Central Regional competition in November.The women’s team improved its eighth-place showing from last season in the conference meet earning a fifth-place overall team finish.

Head coach Eric Heins took three freshman runners to the meet with finishes of 25th, 36th and 40th.

Senior Calandra Stewart continued her dominance by finishing second in the 6K race at 21 minutes 10 seconds in the field of 63 runners.

“Overall, having Calandra finish second and have more of our pack finish between 25th and 34th place was a step in the right direction,” Heins said.

Junior McKale Davis paced the remaining TCU runners by, taking third for the team and 29th overall, Heins said.

The men’s team was unable to improve on its sixth-place showing from the 2005 championships, but Heins said the team still ran a solid race.

“We ran a little bit over our heads the first mile,” Heins said. “But, in a field with six teams, that is what you have to do in a race like that.”

The entire men’s team ran the first mile under five minutes while trying to pace with the other teams, Heins said.

Freshman Festus Kigen led the men through the 8K race finishing 13th overall with a time of 25:16.

“Festus ran a solid race,” Heins said. “He needs to learn the 8K distance for how hard he should push himself the first mile.”

The team is working on adjusting the final elements of its race strategy for regional competition in Waco.

“Going into regionals, we are trying to make some adjustments again to better prepare for the second half of the race,” Heins said.

Heins said he wants both teams to finish in the top 10 during regionals.

“I want Festus and Calandra to both finish in the top 25 for individual placements,” Heins said.

By placing that, Kigen and Stewart would qualify for the NCAA Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind.

In order for the team to qualify, it would need to finish in one of the top two places. For an individual to qualify for the nationals, the runner must finish in the top 25 overall and not be on one of the qualifying teams, Heins said.