Cross Country Set for Southland Conference Championship in Thibodaux

THIBODAUX — The Northwestern State men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Thibodaux on Friday to compete in the Southland Conference Championship, hosted by Nicholls State University, at the Nicholls Farm Cross Country Course.

The women will compete in the 6-kilometer championship at 8:30 a.m., followed by the men in the 8k championship at 9:30 a.m.

NSU has had a steady season so far, competing in the McNeese Season opener on September 2, the Warhawk Invitational in Monroe on September 17, the Cowboy Stampede in Lake Charles on September 24, and the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas on September 30.

The Demons and Lady Demons have each had personal records scattered across the team over the past few races.

“We are focused on preparing to be as competitive as possible at the conference level”, head coach Dawson said. “We have progressed very well over the course of the season and I think we are in a good spot heading into this meet”.

The Demons have been working their way up to competition distance over the past two months and four of the men raced their first official 8k at the Chile Pepper Festival in Arkansas in late September.

Xavier Wilson and Payten Vidourek are experienced with the Conference meet, this being Wilson’s second championship and fourth 8k and Vidourek’s third championship and fifth 8k.

In the first and only other 8k race this season, at the Chile Pepper Festival, John Klein led the Demons across the finish line with a time of 27:22.0, coming in 75th out of 348 runners. On the women’s side, Leah Thompson led the way for the women in the 5k.

The women have also been working up to championship distance; this will be the first official 6k race for four of the women. Senior Olivia Sipes and sophomore Leah Thompson are the most familiar with the Championship, this Friday will mark Olivia’s third career conference meet, and Leah’s second.

At last year’s Southland Conference Championship, held at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, the Lady Demons placed eighth with a score of 228. Texas A&M-CC took the women’s title with 56 points. The Demons also took eighth last year with 220 points, while McNeese took the men’s title with 47 points.

Northwestern will be represented by six men in the 8k including Stefan Klefasz, John Klein, Korbin Shumate, Payten Vidourek, Xavier Wilson, and Waylon Wright. The women who will be representing Northwestern in the 6k include Leah Thompson, Olivia Sipes, Ava-Grace Herbert, Carolin Bielert, and Ceyda Bayur.

The Southland Conference Championship will be available to watch on ESPN+.

Photo Credit: Pam Lafosse, McNeese Sports Information