Cougars on the prowl for titles
Cross country: Women set to make waves in C-USA
By Samica Knight
Daily Cougar Staff
Despite a weekend cold front whisking its way across the eastern coast,
the UH men's and women's cross country teams hope to run with the wind
and race to a triumphant finish in the seventh annual Men's and Women's
Conference USA Cross Country Championships.
The race will be held at Lake Kristi in Greenville, N.C. on Saturday,
Oct.27. East Carolina, who is also a competitor in this weekend's race,
will host the meet.
The Lady Cougars, ranked No. 8 in the South Central Region, will face
very stiff competition in this year's championship race.
The defending women's champions, the Marquette Golden Eagles, return
to defend their crown against would-be usurpers South Florida, Tulane,
Cincinnati and striding into this
year's picture, the surprising Lady Cougars.
Head coach Theresa Fuqua's strategy focuses on her athletes' performances
steadily improving throughout the season and rising to a crescendo for
The women's team has grown stronger as the season progressed. Their
outstanding performances at the Lehigh Invitational Oct. 6 and the Texas
A&M Invitational Oct. 13
proved Fuqua's team can fly around a course and compete with the best
teams in the nation.
On the starting line for the Lady Cougars is sophomore sensation Jessica
Oakes, currently the Lady Cougars No.1 runner, senior Monica Reyna, juniors
Julie Perez and Heather
Howse and freshmen Kelly McCarty and Veronica Ramirez.
The women's 6-kilometer race will include all 14 C-USA teams.
The Lady Cougars will definitely use Fuqua's strategy of block- running
to place high in this weekends meet.
"It is always good to see a friendly familiar face running next to you,"
This winning strategy will help the Lady Cougars accumulate a low team
A cross country team's score is determined by what place the runners
finish the race. The order the top five runners on each team finish are
added together and the team with the
lowest score wins the championship.
The 8k men's competition will include competitors from 13 C-USA schools.
South Florida, the three-time defending C-USA champion, and Cincinnati
are favorites in the men's division.
Even though the UH men field a fairly young team, head coach Howie Ryan
expects his runners to do well in this weekends meet.
"Our goal is to place in the top fifty percent," Ryan said. "If we get
into the top seven it will be a good accomplishment."
The UH men's team will take seven runners with them this weekend.
Sophomore Jared Kuntz has been the team's No. 1 runner and is expected
to set the pace for the young Cougars.
Running with Kuntz will be senior Kevin Ward, junior Tartou Kargou,
sophomores Jason Baines, Juan Cardenas and Ronnie Martinez and freshman
"Some of the guys may be tired, they might have hurt themselves running
so much during the season," Ryan said.
The men finished in seventh place at the 2000 championships with All
C-USA runner Mike Olague leading the way with an outstanding second place
finish in the grueling
Ryan redshirted Olague this season in the hope that Olague will return
to lead an older, more experienced veteran Cougar team down the glory trail