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Dallas, TX

September 2, 2018 | Blake Cochran

The Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) cross country teams kicked off their 2018 campaign in Mansfield, TX at the Orville Rogers/DBU Patriot XC Opener .  The teams were in good company with the likes of the host team, who have both men’s and women ranked in the pre-season top 20 in the NCAA DII, and UT-Kingsville whose men are coming off of the 2018 NCAA DII Outdoor Track National Championship.  The Lions held their own in both races with standout performances by two freshman.

The men sprinted the new season in with a solid performance.  They were led by Zackery Hammond (Fr), who led the entire field for the first three miles before succumbing to Dallas Baptist’s big three.  Hammond finished the 8,000m race in 4th place with the time of 25:56.1. This is the highest placement at the DBU meet in program history for the men side, but his time also has set a new school record. Coach Covarrubias on Hammond’s performance, “I am extremely impressed by his grit.  He went out very hard which put him in a ‘lame duck predicament’ to three of the country’s best runners, but when they caught up to him, he did not back down.”

The men finished as the meet’s runner up for the second year in a row.  The Lions top 5 all crossed in the meet’s Top 30. Hammond had help from SAGU’s big three ( Adrian Cedillo 27:04, Cody Walker 27:14, and Robert Herrera 27:53) who finished 10th, 13th and 20th overall.  Freshman, Jose Alvarez rounded out the Lion’s top 5 with his 29th place finish.  Covarrubias on the men’s race, “these men work hard every day. Today they held their own against a pretty stout field and attacked the 8k with confidence. This meet was a huge confidence booster for our men as they beat the qualifying standard for the NCCAA National Championship by over 10 minutes!”

The women united to the starting line with confidence like never before, as their freshman class has revitalized the program.  They were led by three of those freshman.  The first Lady Lion to cross the line was Alexandria Castillo , who finished the women’s 5k just outside of the Top 20 (21st) with the time of 21:15.4.  She was followed by Ayala Pope and Alyssa Moore who crossed at 33rd and 37th with times of 22:37.7 and 23:01.0 respectfully. Destiny Barclift (So) and two-sport athlete Alyssa Holder (Fr) finished with times of 23:18.2 and 24:41.2 to round out the team’s top 5.  Head Coach Jason Covarrubias exclaimed about the ladies, “This is the fastest group of ladies that we have ever had at one time in our program. They work as a team daily and today it showed.  Unfortunately, they did not hit their goal to qualify for the NCCAA national meet but they are close!!!  It won’t be long!!”

The teams travel to Joplin, MO on Saturday, Sept. 15th for the Missouri Southern State University Stampede.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at

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