A heavy layer of humidity and heat hovered over the Jacksonville State University home course in Anniston as the men’s and women’s cross-country teams unloaded from the vans this past weekend. With their second arrival at the course came a hope that the conditions would be cooler than the previous Foothills Invitational, but it seems the tropical storm just barely missed the event, leaving the competitors in less than desirable conditions for racing. Despite the unforgiving heat and the sapping humidity, both teams managed to run strong performances in their respective races.
With senior Cayla Nousain still out due to injury, things looked grim for the Lady Tigers, but they ended up performing well above everybody’s expectations. Shechinah Adams (sophomore) led the girl’s team from the beginning of the 5k race and finished with an impressive 19:55. A strong trio followed not too far behind with Amber Nelson (sophomore) finishing with a 20:47, Tori Harris (junior) with a 20:59, and Laura Mancin (sophomore) with a 21:19. Laura Mancin recently came off from a stress fracture in her femur and managed to step back onto the racing field without missing a beat.
After the women’s race, the sun managed to shift its way out from behind the overcast and make its presence known to everyone standing on the starting line of the men’s 8k. Not letting the heat affect him in the least bit, Rafael Duenes (freshman) managed to lead the men’s pack from the sound of the starting gun, finishing with a 26:39 and placing 9th. William Kazery (junior) worked his way to the top of the ranks with an impressive 26:51 and a standing of 16th. Warren Enriquez (senior) could not hold pace as the sun took its toll on the runners, finishing with a 27:45. Armanda Fierro (sophomore) and Kenny Slavik (junior) swept up the rest of the pack with times of 27:54 and 28:18.
Both teams had endured three weeks of increased mileage and intense workouts in between races. Most of the men’s team put in nearly 70 miles a week and the women’s team averaged about 50 miles a week. Considering this, the men’s and girl’s teams were pleased with their 3rd place finishes. Next week, both teams hop back in the vans to travel to Mantevallo to compete in their final race before conference.