The Northwestern State University men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete against several teams from around the area, including multiple conference opponents, this Saturday In Lake Charles. The McNeese State Cowboy Stampede will feature several events, including a women’s 5K race and a men’s 4 mile race as well as several high school races.
Both the Demons and the Lady Demons last ran in Ruston on September 14 in the Louisiana Tech Mook 4 Invitational, with the Lady Demons taking second place out of six teams and the men finishing fifth.
Head coach De’Shalyn Jones is excited to see how her team does against a deep field of competitors, particularly teams from the Southland Conference. “I like competing against teams from within our conference because you can get a feel for the competition and know who you’re running against”, Jones said. “You get to learn their race strategy and how you pace with them.”
The race will take place at the Enos Derbonne Multi-Sport Complex and feature a number of teams from all around. The women will face Alcorn State, Grambling, Houston, Houston Baptist, Louisiana College, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, New Orleans, Rice, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, Texas Southern, Louisiana – Lafayette, and Xavier – Louisiana at 8:30. In the men’s race, starting at 9:00, the Demons will compete against the same teams except for Louisiana Tech and with the addition of Prairie View.
For the Lady Demons, junior Isabell Hudson, who finished first for NSU in both meets so far this season, will be joined by fellow junior Jasmine Dansby, sophomore Kirstin Elrod, and freshmen Nijha Composto, Bronwyn Buchanan, Olivia Slayter, and Olivia Sipes.
For the Demons, junior transfer Mike Alukunyang finished first in the meet in Ruston. He will be joined by juniors Blake Cantrell, Robert Evans, Yannik Gerland, and Darius Groves as well as sophomores Clay Casner, Alex Melcer, and Andrew Robinson.
Jones is really encouraged by how the team has responded to veteran runners, particularly the Lady Demons to Hudson. “The things that Izzy did last year were really big and a lot of the freshmen look to her for guidance. She works hard everyday and doesn’t complain, I couldn’t ask for a better leader than Izzy,” Jones said.
Jones also is excited to have all her runners at full strength going into conference competition. She said, “You want to have all your runners in good shape going into the middle of the season. At this point we just need everybody good and healthy.”
Following this meet, the Demons next travel to Clinton, Mississippi on October 12 for the Mississippi College Watson Ford Invitational.