Oct. 30, 2011
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The UAB cross country team will travel to Houston, Texas to compete Monday at the 2011 Conference USA Cross Country Championship hosted by Rice. The women's 5K race is slated for a 10 a.m. CT start at the Wildcat Golf Course.
The first 21 women to cross the finish line at the conference championships will be named to the All-C-USA first (1-7), second (8-14), and third (15-21) teams. East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa and UTEP each have a men's and women's team. SMU, Southern Miss UAB and UCF have women's teams only.
UAB took the league championship in 2006 and finished as the runner-up in 2005. Last year, the Blazers placed fourth, with Rhiannon Johns and Clara Cid earning all-conference accolades. The Blazers are currently ranked 14th in the South Region Poll.
The Blazers are expected to face their toughest competition in Tulsa, Rice, SMU and UTEP. Prior to the most recent USTFCCCA women's poll, Tulsa was ranked No. 30 in the country.
In 2010, Tulsa became the third team in conference history to sweep both the men's and women's championship titles. The Golden Hurricane is currently ranked 12th in the Midwest.
SMU and Rice are No. 3 and 4, respectively, in the South Central Regional poll while UTEP is ranked 14th in the Mountain Region Poll.
UTEP took both individual titles a year ago, as the men placed second and the women finished third. Risper Kimaiyo, a two-time C-USA champion, returns for the Miners to this year's competition looking to become the first three-time champion in league history.
Two weeks ago, the Blazers competed at the prestigious Pre-National Invitational hosted by Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind. Johns, a senior, was the top finisher for the Blazers completing the 6K in 21:43 to place 38th out of a field of 303 participants.
Cid clocked a time of 22:33 to place second for UAB and teammate Kristina Vaughn crossed the line in 22:50 to round out the Blazers' top three runners. UAB's fourth finisher was junior Sarah Hudak (23:36).