Nov. 2, 2003

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - After making a clean sweep of the Southland Conference cross country championships a year ago, Stephen F. Austin State University looks to defend the titles on Monday as the annual meet is schedule to take place at Raven Nest Golf Club in Huntsville, Texas.

The 40th-annual men's championship gets under way at 9:30 a.m. with 11 teams competing for the championship over an 8,000-meter course. The women's run will follow at 10:30 a.m., covering a 5,000-meter course and contending for the 19th championship trophy in Southland history.

The Lumberjacks, who had four individuals in the top 10 of last year's championship, have won the last two men's titles, the first two Southland titles in the program's history. Sam Houston State finished second on the men's side with 68 points, 30 behind SFA, while Texas-Arlington was third with 106, Texas-San Antonio had 128 and McNeese State 130.

The Ladyjacks won the 2002 women's title by three points over two-time defending champion Texas-Arlington. It was the first championship for SFA since the 1990 season and fourth for the school all time. The Ladyjacks carded 71 points, UTA had 74 and the University of Texas at San Antonio finished third with 85. Sam Houston State placed fourth with 123 and McNeese State rounded out the top five with 131.

Both individual champions from a year ago return to defend their titles. Nathan Flores and Ana Rodriguez of SFA were each voted athletes of the year after winning last year's races in Natchitoches, La. Flores, a senior from Houston, Texas, ran a 25:41 in the men's race while Rodriguez, a senior from Pinkston, Texas, clocked a 19:18 to finish ahead of 73 others participants.




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