Special by Don Garrett
2012 Cross Country Preview: Texas A&M – Commerce
The Commerce men took another stride toward becoming one of the elite LSC XC programs in 2011, finishing a strong 3rd place. With the return of the entire team from last year and the addition of some high-quality recruits, the Lions may be the only team that can compete with ENMU this year. The women, on the other hand, have been headed in the opposite direction of late. Last year’s last place finish was expected as the team competed all year with 5 runners – the minimum allowed for team scoring. The Commerce coaches have scoured the state (and beyond) for more kids and this year, the Lady Lions should have the depth necessary to make a better showing at conference.
MEN – TAMU-C was a solid 3rd in 2011 – 31 points behind ACU, but 44 points ahead of 4th place Angelo. They return their full squad from last year, bolstered by a solid runner who ran XC in 2010. They added a quality recruiting class that includes one 5A state track meet qualifier and another near-qualifier. This is undoubtedly a team on the upswing.
LOST FROM LAST SEASON – no one who ran at the conference XC meet
RETURNEES (with 2011 XC meet place in parentheses)
- · Isaac Chelimo (14th) – Jr - had an All-Conference XC season in his first year after a transfer from Iowa State, but disappointingly did not score a single point at the conference track meet, which was hosted by Commerce – finishing 10th in the 800 and steeple and 15th in the 1500
- · Everett Wilder (15th) – Jr – he followed his All-Conference XC season by placing 5th in the 10K at the conference track meet
- · Alex Kimp (22nd) – Jr – did not have a good track meet, finishing 18th in the 10K and 28th in the 5K
- · Raymond Mata (23rd) – Jr – also 13th in the LSC steeplechase
- · Fredrick Kipsang (25th) – Jr – disappointed a bit in the XC meet after his transfer from Middle Tennessee State, but atoned by placing 7th in both the steeple and 5K at the conference track meet
- · Ross Hicks (35th) – came fairly close to scoring on the track in the 1500 as he finished 11th
- · Tyler Hemenway (65th) – after a poor finish in the XC meet, he barely missed the finals in the LSC 800, finishing 9th in the prelims by a fraction of a second
- · Raman Singh – did not run in the 2011 XC season, but finished 31st in the 2010 championships and could help the team this year
- · Luis Romero – freshman from El Paso Montwood – 5th in the 5A 800 at the state meet, he also won the District 1-5A 800 and 1600 – excellent recruit who might help more on the track in the shorter distances
- · Dorian McCradic – freshman from Georgetown – running for one of the Texas XC hot-bed high schools, the won the District 16-5A 1600 and finished 3rd in the Region II-5A 1600 – also 19th at the 5A XC state meet
- · Elias Leija Garza – freshman from El Paso Eastwood – at the District 1-5A meet, he was 3rd in the 1600 and 4th in the 3200
- · Maron Weldai – freshman from Richardson Berkner – at the District 9-5A meet, he was 3rd in the 800 and 5th in the 1600
WOMEN – had to fight through a season with absolutely no depth, every member of the team had to run and finish to count in the team standings. So, finishing a distant 9th was not terribly surprising, particularly in a year when perennial last place finishers Southeast Oklahoma and Southwest Oklahoma moved on to a new conference. While they will still have to struggle to get out of the LSC cellar, a recruiting class of 7 women will at least give the team a slight margin for error this season.
LOST FROM LAST SEASON – only loss was Audrie Vela, who finished 51st (the 2nd highest finisher for the Lady Lions), but who must have decided to return to the Valley, where she ran for Edinburg HS.
RETURNEES (with their 2011 XC finish in parentheses)
- · Brooke Farris (37th) – So – highest finisher for Commerce in 2011, she fell well short of placing in the 2012 LSC track meet, finishing 21st in the 1500
- · Jennifer Speer (54th) – Sr – the only senior on a squad that was made up of 4 freshmen and 1 junior in 2011
- · Caroline Cotsakis (61st) – So – finished 23rd in the 5K on the track
- · Kendall Christmas (65th) – So – did not run in the LSC track meet last spring
- · Tori Lenz-Selvera – freshman from Ennis – 2nd in the District 15-4A 800 and 3200
- · Katie Romero – freshman from Edinburg – 3rd in the District 31-5A 1600 and 3200
- · MacKenzie Myers – freshman from Richardson HS – 3rd in the District 9-5A 1600, plus 5th in the 3200
- · Julieta Esquivel – junior from Kaufman and Lon Morris Col – 153rd in the JC XC last fall, she also won the JC Southeast Region 5K on the track, but did not qualify for the national JC track meet
- · Hilary Vasquez – junior transfer from Bakersfield CC – in the Western States JC track championships, she finished 19th in the 5K, 22nd in the 1500 and 28th in the 800
- · Kellie Hardenbrook – freshman from Rockwall – 9th in the District 10-4A 3200
- · Mary Hammonds – freshman from Arlington HS – only 7th in the 4-5A 3200 in 2011, she finished a much more competitive 2nd in the 3200 and 6th in the 1600 in that same district meet in 2011