Xavier men and women’s cross country teams are in a rush to win gold this season. Through hard work, talent, and pure heart, they are breaking records and hoping to win gold with their ninth consecutive Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championship.
Both teams know about winning. According to Coach Joseph Moses, the cross country teams had their best showing Sept. 20 at the LSU invitational. Senior Kwame Jackson placed 11th in the men’s 5,000 meter with a time of 16:16.0; senior Catherine Fakler placed 8th in the women’s 5,000 meter with a time of 19:11. Overall, the men’s team placed fourth out of seven, and the women placed third out of six, which was their best finish at an LSU meet.
“It’s a grind. Cross country is a mental sport. You have to love it,” Coach Moses says. “You have to have the heart for it.”
Kwame Jackson set the school record for men’s 5,000 meter with a time of 15:30.90 at the Wolf Pack Invitational Sept. 6th, 2014. Moses says it feels great to see Jackson do so well
On Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, Jackson also broke the school record for the four mile at the McNeese Cowboy Stampede. He finished with 36th out of 74th with a time of 21:21.7. The previous record by Ray Walston was 21:24.37 in 2008.
“It’s his senior year, and he gets to leave a legacy when he graduates.” Jackson is also looking to break Matt Pieri’s Sept. 15, 2012 8,000 meter record of 26:39:.71. At the rate he’s going, as long as he stays healthy, he should be able to break it, according to Moses.
Fakler is another player breaking records. In the 2014 Xavier Big Easy Opener, Fakler ran the two mile in 12:42.18, breaking Xavier’s previous school record of 13:13.3 by Denitra Robinson in 2001. Fakler also holds all of the women’s cross country school records.
“I think it’s hard for me to say anything I accomplish is my accomplishment because it’s really the effort of the whole team that is behind every individual accomplishment,” she says.
Fakler still wants more. With only two races left, she would “really like to get a personal record” on Oct. 18 during the GCAC championships at New Orleans City Park, where they practice. Another dream of hers will be finishing in the top 30 at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Nationals in Lawrence, Kansas, Nov. 22.
“Overall, I have had such a great experience on this team, and all of my girls have been amazing. I wouldn’t trade any moment with my team. I hope to be able to accomplish all my goals, but mostly I am just trying to have fun and enjoy my last cross country season.”
The men’s roster includes: Christopher August from Spring, Texas; Emmanuel Detiege from New Orleans; Kwame Jackson from Kingwood, Texas; Christopher Kennie from New Orleans; and Brent Kitto from Chalmette, LA. The women’s roster includes: Reeka Belton from Katy, Texas; Carlee Calais from Breaux Bridge, LA; Catherine Fakler from Phoenix; Hannah Finnegan from Pekin, Illinois; Ashley Flournoy from Richmond, Texas; Zahri Jackson from Kingwood, Texas; Briana Simms from Hendersonville, Tennessee; and HaliYarmush from Houma, LA. Both teams are coached by Joseph Moses
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