Mustangs Set For South Central Regionals

Go smu! SMU Looks To Continue Its Success At The South Central Regionals
Go smu!
SMU Looks To Continue Its Success At The South Central Regionals
Go smu!

Nov. 13, 2013

 SMU @ South Central Regionals
 Date & Start Time  Friday, Nov. 15 at 11:15 a.m. CT
 Location  Waco, Texas
 SMU Meet Notes  Meet Notes (.pdf)
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Mustang Runners at the South Central Regionals:
The Mustangs are coming off winning  the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship and their fifth conference championship in six years. SMU had six runners earn all-conference honors and Coach Casey garnered her fifth Coach of the Year honor. Prior to winning the conference, SMU placed 18th at the ISU Pre-National Invitational, eighth at the Notre Dame Invitational and recorded back-to-back first place finishes at the UTA Gerald Richey Invite and North Texas Invitational. SMU now prepares to run in the South Central Regionals in Waco, Texas. The Ponies are looking to qualify and advance to the NCAA Championships. The South Central Regionals are scheduled to be run at The Cottonwood Creek Golf Course as it features a 6K course.

Qualifying for the NCAA Championships:
The top-two teams and the four best individuals all qualify for the NCAA Championships. A season ago, SMU had four individuals earn all-region honors and had one student-athlete advance to the NCAA Championships. Now graduated Mary Alenbratt was the fourth-highest finishing individual a season ago, crossing the line in eighth place. In addition to Alenbratt, now sophomore Shanoah Souza (11th) and senior Caitlin Keen (21st) earned the honor accolade as well.

SMU Heads to the South Central Regionals Ranked Third In Region:
The Mustangs are ranked third in the latest US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) South Central Region Poll. Ranked ahead of SMU in the south central region are No. 3 Arkansas and No. 28 Texas A&M.

Looking Back:
SMU placed first and captured the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday, Nov. 2 in Madison, Conn. The championship was the fifth in the last six years (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013) and third straight for the Mustangs. The previous four conference titles came in Conference USA. At the American Championships SMU had six runners earn all-conference honors as the team finished with 29 total points beating second-place Louisville by 32 points. Rounding out the top five were UConn, UCF and Rutgers. Head Coach Cathy Casey earned Coach of the Year honors, garnering her fifth accolade since her arrival to the Hilltop. In addition to the six Ponies who earned all-conference distinction, five of them placed in the top ten.

Freshmen Tova Magnusson and Agnes Sjöström crossed the line in the top five, with Magnusson's time of 20:23.16 good for second and Sjöström's 20:33.70 good for fourth. Sophomore Melanie Stemper placed sixth in 20:43.91, with classmate Karoline Skatteboe close behind in seventh in 20:49.46. Senior Caitlin Keen and sophomore Holly Archer were the final all-conference honorees for SMU, taking 10th in 21:03.84 and 11th in 21:04.19, respectively. Also competing for the Mustangs, sophomore Shanoah Souza finished just outside the top 15 as she crossed the finish line with a time of 21:21.80 in 16th place.

Tradition of Excellence:
The Mustangs have enjoyed great success over the past six seasons, with five conference titles in six years, including three straight during that span. In 2013, head coach Cathy Casey enters her 11th year (2002-present) at SMU, having become the cross country coach in 2005. She has earned Coach of the Year honors during each championship season. SMU won the inaugural American Championship on Nov. 2 in Madison, Conn.

Fresh Start:
The Mustangs have looked to the team's youth as freshmen and sophomores have paced SMU in each race this fall. Sophomore Melanie Stemper placed first overall at the UTA Invitational. At the North Texas Invite, freshmen Tova Magnusson and Agnes Sjöström finished second and fifth and sophomores Shanoah Souza and Holly Archer earned third and fourth, respectively. Magnusson paced the Mustangs to its fifth conference championship in six seasons. In addition, five of the six All-American Athletic Conference selections were freshmen and sophomores for the Ponies.

Athlete of the Week:
Freshman Agnes Sjöström was selected as the American Athletic Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Week for her efforts in helping the Mustangs finish second out of eight schools at the Bear Twilight Invitational on Aug. 30. Sjöström garnered her first weekly honor as she finished third out of 89 runners with a time of 13:49.60. In her first collegiate meet, Sjöström led her team past six schools including No. 27 Texas, narrowly missing meet-winner Baylor by five points.

SMU Places 18th At ISU Pre-Nationals:
SMU finished 18th out of 49 schools at the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational. The Mustangs defeated USTFCCCA then-No. 19 ranked Oklahoma State who finished 20th. Sophomore Shanoah Souza paced SMU as she finished 84th (21:20.0) overall out of 340 total runners in the 6k race. In addition to Souza, sophomore Karoline Skatteboe finished 98th with a time of 21:27.31. A total of 12.6 seconds separated four Mustangs, including freshmen Tova Magnusson (21:44.72) and Agnes Sjöström (21:46.97), sophomore Holly Archer (21:50.12) and senior Caitlin Keen (21:57.32) as they finished in 139th, 145th, 157th and 182nd place, respectively. Sophomore Melanie Stemper placed 213th in 22:09.07.

SMU Competes At Norte Dame Invitational:
SMU placed eighth out of 24 schools at the Notre Dame Invitational. The Mustangs defeated then No. 4 ranked Duke and regional foe Baylor as each team finished in 10th and 14th, respectively. Sophomore Melanie Stemper paced SMU as she finished 42nd (17:51.8) overall out of 198 total runners in the 5k race. Sophomore Karoline Skatteboe, who competed in her first race since the Mustangs opened the season at the Baylor Invitational, finished 51st with a time of 17:57.7. Following right behind her was freshman Tova Magnusson as she placed 55th and crossed the finish line just 1.9 seconds later with a time of 17:59.6.

Mustangs Win North Texas Invite:
SMU placed first at the Ken Garland Invitational hosted by North Texas. Freshman Tova Magnusson paced the Mustangs as she finished second (17:59.96) overall out of 53 total runners from five schools in the 5k race. In addition to Magnusson, sophomores Shanoah Souza and Holly Archer and freshman Agnes Sjöström immediately followed behind finishing third (18:02.81), fourth (18:03.69) and fifth (18:16.61) overall, respectively. Also finishing in the top 10 for the Mustangs was senior Caitlin Keen as she finished in seventh crossing the finish line in a time of 18:41.25.

SMU Wins UTA Invitational:
The Mustangs placed first at the University Texas-Arlington Invitational. Sophomores Melanie Stemper and Shanoah Souza paced the Mustangs as they finished first (17:09.7) and second (17:50.4) overall out of 48 total runners from six schools in the 5k race. Stemper earned the first individual title of her career in just her second collegiate race. Sophomore Holly Archer finished fourth crossing the finish line in 17:55.6, while senior Caitlin Keen rounded out the Mustangs in to top 10 as she placed sixth in 18:15.1.

Mustangs Finish Runner-Up At Bear Twilight Invitational:
SMU placed second as the team opened its 2013 season at the Bear Twilight Invitational, hosted by Baylor University. Freshmen Agnes Sjöström and Tova Magnusson paced the Mustangs as they finished third (13:49.6) and fourth (13:51.0) overall, respectively, in their first collegiate meet. In addition, sophomore Karoline Skatteboe placed sixth in a time of 13:55.2. She was followed by sophomore Melanie Stemper who rounded out the Mustangs in the top 10, as she placed ninth (13:58.6).

SMU Returned Two All-C-USA Athletes:
Three Mustangs took 2012 second team All-C-USA nods; now sophomores Karoline Skatteboe and Shanoah Souza who placed eighth and 10th overall, respectively. Now senior Caitlin Keen took 14th at the conference championships to earn her All-C-USA honor.

2013 Outlook:
The Mustangs returned six letterwinners and seek the first American Athletic Conference Championship as well as a regional crown. Among its six returning letterwinners, that list includes three C-USA second team selections; senior Caitlin Keen and sophomores Karoline Skatteboe and Shanoah Souza. Last year's team leader Mary Alenbratt who is now graduated, qualified for the NCAA Championship and was a first team All-C-USA selection. Those leadership responsibilities fell to the lone returning senior in Keen. Head Coach Cathy Casey is confident of her strengths and the example she sets. "Caitlin will be a great leader and has the ability to mentor our entire freshman class," said Casey.