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OBU Cross Country Competes for GAC Titles Featured

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Written by  Friday, 20 October 2017 23:05
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Ray Fink, Director of Athletics Communications, Oklahoma Baptist University


SHAWNEE – The trip to the Great American Conference Cross Country Meet isn’t new for Oklahoma Baptist – they’ve been running against those teams the past two years. But this time, the Bison and Lady Bison can score as a team.


OBU heads to the meet in Magnolia, Arkansas, this weekend with the women running Saturday at 9:30 a.m., followed by the men at 10:30 a.m.


Both teams, which will move on to the Central Regional in Kearney, Nebraska, Nov. 4, are seeking a shot at the school’s first GAC postseason titles as full NCAA members.


The Lady Bison are ranked 16th nationally but expect a test from veteran GAC programs.


“The team has had a solid few weeks of training and I am looking forward to seeing them compete at the Great American Conference Championship,” said Lady Bison Coach Matt Kennedy. “It's been a long road to this point and I know the team is excited about representing OBU well in our first opportunity.


“Several teams in the GAC are much improved and will provide a significant challenge. East Central and Harding have run very well of late and both are traditional powers in the conference. Additionally, both have been ranked in the Central Region at different times this season. We will have to run well to have the opportunity to be in the conversation with these two.”


There also is a little more to gain for OBU team members as Coach Kennedy will pare his team down to move forward to NCAA competition.


“The GAC meet is the last opportunity for girls to earn a place on the 8-man travel roster to Kearney,” Kennedy said.


The OBU men will be trying to establish their place in a tradition-rich club.


“The GAC Cross Country Championships has traditionally been very competitive and this year is no different,” said Bison Coach Mark Heard. “The top teams have proud traditions in distance running and compete at a very high level

The top three teams are East Central University, Harding University and the host team Southern Arkansas. ECU has won the GAC five of the past six years including the last three in a row and will be the favorite to make it four in a row.Harding was the last team to win the GAC besides ECU and is possibly the dark horse to upset ECU at this year’s meet. Southern Arkansas will be in the mix as well as they lost a close contest to Harding two weeks ago and will probably be motivated to win on their home course.We are looking forward to competing in our first official GAC Championships and are optimistic about our outcome.”


Coach Heard’s charges are expected to be in the hunt as well.


“The men have had a good regular season and hope to be in the mix at the end of the race,” Heard said. “We are a young team and are still discovering who we are and what we will become. Saturday will be an opportunity for our men to compete at a high level. They will have to be on their A game in order to compete at the standard of excellence our competitors have established in the GAC.”


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David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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