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Shawnee, OK

October 9, 2018 | Blake Cochran

The Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) cross country teams competed in the Oklahoma Baptist University Invitational on Saturday, October 6th.  This historic course has been known for its tough rolling hills that produce slow times, but the teams competed well.  “The women returned to action after three weeks off, and even though were no personal records or season bests set, they have improved as racers,” said Head Coach Jason Covarrubias .  The Lady Lions were led by freshman Ayla Pope who ran the 5,000m race with the time of 22:02.  She was followed by teammate, Alexandria Castillo , who paced the course in 22:35.  The team finished tied for 13th place with Southwestern Oklahoma with 396 points but lost that positioning to the 6th runner tie-breaker rule.

The men’s team toed the line for the first time since the release of the NAIA’s latest Top 25 poll.  In that poll, the Lion’s received 3 votes which was the program’s first.  “This is an exciting time for the men.  They have worked extremely hard and we knew that eventually, people would begin to take notice. I told the men that although it is an honor to be in this position, now they will be obligated to capitalize on every opportunity going forward,” said Covarrubias prior to the race.  The men did just that by finishing in 5th out of the 13 teams.

The running Lions were led once again by Zackery Hammond (Fr.) who finished in 8th place out of the 115 competitors, with the time of 26:36.  Captain, Robert Herrera (R-Jr,) finished 20th with the time of 27:33, Cody Walker (Jr.) crossed at 27:34 in 23rd and Adrian Cedillo (Sr.) ran through at 27:52 in 25th place.  The squads top 5 was rounded out by Arturo Valdez (Fr.) who finished in 46th place.  “The men ran a great competitive race.  On paper, the results give a different story, but you have to consider the difficulty of the course and how hot it was today (80 degrees with 80% humidity at the start).  I am extremely proud of these men and think they solicited their positioning in the conversation of nationally ranked teams.”

The SAGU cross country teams return to action on Saturday, October 20th, at the NAIA Mid-States Classic hosted by Southwestern College in Winfield, KS .

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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