SAGU cross country athletes raced at the National Christian Colleges Athletics Associations (NCCAA) National Championship in Jackson, Mississippi, on November 12, 2016.
Out of 17 teams, the men’s team finished 10th place overall. Woman runner Destiny Garza became a back-to-back All-American after a 13th place finish.
The women’s team didn’t qualify as a team for the NCCAA National Championship. However, Destiny qualified early in the season for the 5K. Garza, who is a senior from Aldine, Texas, finished in 18:36. Finishing in the top 15 solidified her standing as an All-American.
“Destiny has overcome a lot this season and is gaining strength, confidence, and speed at the right time,” explains head coach Jason Covarrubias, “She is another step closer to closing out her cross country career and still collecting awards on the way. That's how it is supposed to go.”
On top of her back-to-back All-American status, Garza is SAGU’s only National Champion. In the spring, she placed first in the NAIA Marathon.
For the second year in a row, the SAGU men finished in 10th place in the 8K. Jerry Nava, a junior from Euless, Texas, finished 16th overall out of 120 athletes. He crossed the finish line at 26:15. Nava ran the fastest time at the NCCAA National Championship in school history. In 51st place was Adrian Cedillo at 27:47, Cody Walker finished 65th in 28:16, followed by Cody Walker (28:33), Brad Beimler (30:49), Peter Castro (31:37) and Raul Olmos (32:08).
In order to secure 10th place, the Lions really had to push according to Covarrubias. “Brad who is normally our number six or seven guy came up and saved the day for us. Raul Olmos was looking great for the first two miles but shortly after he began to over heat. Brad, being the leader and team player that he has always been, saw it and knew he had to step up. He cut over one minute off of his season best, and secured 10th place for the team! Now that is what I call finishing up on a high note.”