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Volume 68, Issue 4, Thursday, August 29, 2002

Sports
 

Runners set steady pace for Rice Relays

By Emily Davis
The Daily Cougar

Both the men's and women's cross country teams are running again at full force with one thing on their minds: a future championship meet.

"All of our training and practicing is just to get us to the goal of the conference and championship meets," said Theresa Fuqua, men's and
women's cross country head coach.

Both cross country teams will compete in the Rice Relay at 6 p.m. Friday on Allen Parkway.

"We look at this relay as a means to justify our first week of practice," Fuqua said. "Our minds are always set on the future championship meets."

The men's team has a promising season ahead of it because of its dedication to running and a common desire to win meets, Fuqua said.

"The guys are collectively in great shape," Fuqua said. "They really did a great job working out on their own this summer."

Fuqua also expects to find strength in the running styles of Toartou Kargou, senior, and Mike Olague, a fifth-year senior and National Collegiate
Athletic Association qualifier.

"(Kargou) is running extremely well this year and (Olague) is a great leader," she said. "They really set the pace for the team."

Although the men's cross country team has only practiced a little more than a week together, Steve Goff, a cross country graduate assistant, said
its progress is astounding.

"I was with them doing miles and they all look excellent," Goff said. "Jason Banes (junior) had wonderful time. As long as they stay healthy they'll
have a great season."

According to Goff, the amount of young runners on the men's team is its only forseeable weakness.

"We have a lot of very talented freshmen and redshirt sophomores," Goff said. "Youth is usually a soft spot, but I have a feeling they will surprise
us and that weakness will turn into a strength."

Three freshmen recruits hold a lot of potential for the team, Fuqua said. Sesar Figueroa, Maurilio Sanchez and Brent Henson possess raw
talent that will soon become a weapon for the Cougars.

"These guys have an amazing ability level and a real desire to improve to an even higher level," she said.

The women's cross country team also promises to light up the scene this season. Fuqua said although the runners are currently at different
conditioning levels, the potential for excellence is just below the surface.

"This team has great depth," she said. "I have at least five girls who could run an 18-minute five (kilometer) race. We won't lose many meets with
that kind of talent."

The Lady Cougars will rely on junior Jessie Oakes, seniors Julie Perez and Heather Howse and sophomores Kelly McCarty and Veronica
Ramirez to work their magic this season.

"Any one of these girls could be All-Conference," Fuqua said.

But the women's team will also look to its younger runners. Freshmen Autumn Taewater, Katie Ryan and Shawna Florida will attempt to keep up
with the standards set by their fellow teammates.

"These women chose to come and run for UH because they felt strongly about running here," Fuqua said. "That's the kind of runner I like on my
team."

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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