For the first time in program history, the Alcorn State University women’s cross country team are champions.
The team won its first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship during the tournament held at Choctaw Trails in Clinton, Mississippi. The Lady Braves finished the meet with four runners ranked in the top ten.
The road to the program’s first title was a grind filled with challenges, but the team’s commitment to excellence propelled them past the finish line. Runelda Jackson, a sophomore sports management major from Belle Glade, Florida, applauds the team's effort and persistence.
“It takes a village to do anything,” said Jackson. “Day in and day out, we worked very hard, from waking up at 6 a.m. to facing injuries and being discouraged. I always preached to them to stay the course and trust God. It’s truly an honor and blessing to be SWAC champions. I am grateful to represent my team, coaches, and Alcorn.”
Silencing the critics fueled the team’s motivation to defy the odds. Daisy Enriquez, a freshman recreation major from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, expressed pride in the team’s dedication to completing their journey on top.
“Going into this season, I felt that many people didn’t believe in our team,” said Enriquez. “However, my team and coaches believed that we could do something that had never been done in school history. It took hard work, dedication, and focus, but most importantly, it took us to think as one. We all wanted to win, we all put our best on the course, and we all picked each other up as we crossed the finish line. Being SWAC champions gives me a sense of pride for my team.”
Becoming champions has accelerated the team’s drive for more titles in the future. Miguel Mendez, assistant head coach, recognizes the competitive fire that his team possesses.
“These young ladies know what it takes to be a successful team,” said Mendez. “They are committed to being nothing but the best as a team and as individuals. They are hungry and ready to continue to make school history. They know that this is just the beginning, and they look forward to continuing their success. They are prepared to do whatever it takes to become champions again.”
The team’s milestone makes Head Coach Jimmy Joseph proud of the team’s will to win.
“Our student athletes deserve this victory,” said Joseph. “Coach Mendez did a tremendous job getting our students prepared to compete. This championship is a testament to our team’s sacrifices to reach this goal. Winning is a great way to represent Alcorn, and we look forward to continued success.”