SAGU caps solid showing at NCCAA Nationals
Hillhouse, Campos are team's top two finishers
Covarrubias praises team for performance, experience gained
CEDARVILLE, Ohio -- The initial season by the Cross Country program at Southwestern Assemblies of God University came to an exciting close on Saturday just east of Dayton, Ohio.
Both the men’s and women’s teams qualified for a berth in the National Christian College Athletic Association’s 40th National Championship. SAGU's teams had an impressive inaugural campaign.
There were 44 teams in the two men’s divisions, where SAGU finished 24th. There were 33 teams, including the Lions, in Division I.
The women’s squad was reduced to four members, primarily due to injuries. To earn points, teams must have five runners.
Cedarville University (NCAA Division II) hosted the event at their Elvin R. King XC Course.
The site location was dedicated in 2006, created amid 150 acres at the north end of the CU campus.
“The course was very slow this year and the weather was cold as well,” said Head Coach Jason Covarrubias. It was 51 degrees at 10:00am, cloudy and windy with 90% humidity.
“Our men competed shorthanded (Brad Beimler was serving as an Army Reservist) and that was evident in the final standings.”
The upbeat Covarrubias (KO-vah-ROO-bee-us) spoke of the benefits of competing at such a venue
“The experience of performing on the biggest stage was awesome! The all- freshman (men’s) squad 'grew up' in their athletic career this weekend,” he continued. “We are looking to capitalize off this meet next year!”
SAGU’s top finisher in the 8K (5 miles) race, among 231 harriers, was John “B.J.” Hillhouse (Brookshire, Tx / Royal HS). He came in at No. 109 with a time of 28:17.02.
Jose L. Campos (Luling, Tx / Luling HS) was the next Lion to finish at 28:35.26.
Juan Rubio (Rockdale, Tx / Rockdale HS) (29:34.12), Nathaniel Gonzales (Dilley, Tx / Dilley HS) (30:58.31) and Luke Flattery (Springfield, Mo / Central HS) (32:13.30) completed SAGU’s maiden trip to Nationals.
The overall winner was Andrew Reidsma, from Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, Ill). The senior broke the tape at 25:13.36.
The winning team was Azusa Pacific University (Cal) (NCAA D2), followed by Roberts Wesleyan College (NY) (NCAA D2) and Arizona Christian University (NAIA).
For complete results, visit: http://www.thenccaa.org/news/2013/11/14/GEN_1114135730.aspx
A year ago, Coach Covarrubias led the men's team from Arlington Baptist College (Tx) to the NCCAA Division II championship in their first year of existance.
News regarding both signed recruits and those who join the team as "walk ons" will be posted on this website throughout the next semester.
The schedule, which will likely be expanded, will be posted later in the spring or early summer.
“They (the team) gained the knowledge of how it feels to run on a big stage with some of the nation’s top runners,” the coach said.
“The NCCAA National Championships will serve as a learning curve in both our training regimen and our (future) racing strategies!”
Standing by his belief that "no race is a bad race," Covarrubias, a glass half-full kind of motivator, concluded.
“We can always take (learn) something with us every time the starter pistol is fired! It was a good finish to a great inaugural season.”
“We are no longer all freshmen. We now have a solid year under our belts!”