SEGUIN, Texas - For the second time in four years, the Shenandoah University men's and women's cross country teams find themselves deep in the heart of Texas for NCAA Regional competition.
Tomorrow morning, both teams will be on the campus of Texas Lutheran University outside of San Antonio for the 2011 NCAA South/Southeast Regionals.
TLU, which hosted the 2008 regionals, has slightly altered the course for the 2011 event. The course (6000 meters for women and 8000 for men) is level and compact.
"With the course being flat and having long straight-aways, I have to be in a good state of mind to not push myself too much," senior Kyle Gutierrez said.
"Since this is my second time on this course, I want to help my teammates (with course strategy) who haven't been there before."
The 6K women's race begins at 9 a.m. central time and will consist of 29 teams and a total of 253 runners.
The 8K men's race follows at 10 a.m. with 25 teams and 223 runners.
Coach Andy Marrocco, the three-time USA South Conference women's cross country Coach of the Year, is confident about his teams going into the competition. "It's good that we've been there before," Marrocco said. "It takes a small edge off, but can't focus on four years ago.
"We have been discussing this meet for months now, especially with the senior class. They know our training cycle was focused to this event and they know the course inside and out."
For these seniors - Smith, Gutierrez, Renton and Jake Garcia, Saturday's event is potentially the final one of their cross country careers.
"I just want to run a race that I can be proud of," Smith said. "I want to be proud of the effort I put forward and have no regrets!"
-story assistance from Chris Felt '12