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Thursday, September 21, 2023


Cross country looks to build on success

The Cougars hope to carry the momentum from a first-place sweep at last week’s LSU Tiger XC Festival when they travel to South Bend, Ind., to compete in the Notre Dame Invitational.’

The Cougars are ranked among the South Central Region’s top 15 teams as voted by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association this week. The men hold the No. 9 position, while the women sit at No. 10.

Head coach Ryan Turner followed another successful Cougars coach, football’s Kevin Sumlin, when describing his approach to the newfound success.’

‘Were just going to do the best that we can,’ taking a page from Sumlin’s quotes. ‘We can’t control what other teams do. All we can control is what we do,’ Turner said.’

The women head into the Notre Dame meet riding high after posting back-to-back first-place finishes to start the season. They are led by sophomore Stephanie Aldea while the men are led by fellow sophomore Nate Pineda.

‘Aldea is probably the athlete to watch for this weekend,’ Turner said. ‘She was a NCAA national qualifier last year. That’s one of the reasons we’re going to this meet.”

The Notre Dame meet is a high profile event, providing Turner’s young squad an opportunity to compete against some of the country’s top teams. Rice and SMU will await the Cougars along with national powers Florida State and North Carolina.’

‘We definitely have our work cut out for us, but like I said before, if you want to be a winner you got to learn how to win,’ Turner said. ‘If you want to be a top-25 program, we got to go see what top 25 programs look like.”

Pineda led the men’s team with a time of 26:22 at LSU and has proven he can run with the best of them while controlling his pace.’

‘He understands how to be a little more patient,’ Turner said. ‘He used to be what I call a kamikaze runner (he) would just go out like mad and try to hold on.”

‘He’s a great leader by example, the kid works hard, he’s intelligent and he’s very disciplined in his own lifestyle.’ ‘

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