SWAC XC Coach of the Year McCoy leads UAPB to NCAA South Central Regional championship
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions shocked the Southwestern Athletic Conference world by claiming its first SWAC Cross Country Championship since 1993 and the first under head coach Chris McCoy. For the last few weeks, the team has been training and preparing for the next step; the 2018 NCAA Cross Country South Regional Championship in Texas at the Watts Cross Country Course. The 10K race is scheduled for Friday, November 9 at 10:15 a.m. on the campus of Texas A&M.
“I knew we had a good chance of winning a conference championship,” said McCoy. “We had the people and the personnel available to win, so we just had to put it all together. We had three guys come in from junior college, and when I recruited them, I knew they could run. They were really humble and ready to be a part of a championship team, so it all worked out. As for my returners, we started off a little slow. We had to get back in shape because it was a long summer. The good thing is that they wanted to run faster than they ran last year, so if they listened, I knew we would have a better chance at being successful this season.”
On the morning of Monday, October 22, Coach McCoy and his team were prepared to do whatever it takes to win a SWAC championship. Prior to this race, McCoy’s teams were inching closer to the top, but never finished better than third place, until now.
“The morning of our race, my motivational speech was simple,” said Coach McCoy. “I told my team to go and run for yourself. If you take care of self, everything else will fall in place. We stopped using the term ‘run,’ so now we use ‘race.’ If they race to their capability, we knew we could win a championship.”
And that’s exactly what the Golden Lions did; UAPB finished with a total of 62 points as Wade Garner led the way with a fourth place finish, posting a time of 26:20.3. With a time of 26:50.44, Laurel Heath finished in 10th place for UAPB. Garner earned First-Team All-SWAC Men’s Cross Country honors while Heath earned Second-Team All-SWAC honors.
Friday’s race is uncharted territory for this group; tis is the first time that a McCoy led team is heading to the NCAA Cross Country South Regional Championship, but coach is confident in his team.
“I feel like we can go out there and finish in the top 20. The team is excited and we look forward to the challenge.”