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Courtesy: Nelson Chenault
The women's 5K will begin at 5:45 p.m. on Friday at Rebsamen Park.
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UALR Men's and Women's Cross Country Open 2012 Season with UALR Invite on Friday
UALR Sports Information
Release: 09/05/2012

LITTLE ROCK - The UALR men's and women's cross country teams open the 2012 season at home with the UALR Invitational on Friday, Sept. 7 at Rebsamen Golf Course. Action will begin with the women's 5K at 5:45 p.m., followed by the men's 5K at 6:30 p.m.

The Trojan men, who were picked to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference in a preseason poll of the coaches, will have plenty of experience heading into the 2012 season. UALR is led by returners Felix Maritim, Markus Pearson and Shaun Koehn.

Maritim garnered All-Sun Belt and All-Central Region honors a season ago after finishing seventh at the SBC Championships before placing 21st of 119 runners at the NCAA South Central Regional in Waco, Texas. Maritim also picked up a runner-up finish in the regular season at the Arkansas Tech Twilight Run.

Pearson placed 12th at the Sun Belt Championships to narrowly miss All-Conference honors, then placed 64th at the South Central Regional. Pearson also collected a pair of third-place finishes in the regular season at the Arkansas Tech Twilight Run and the UALR Invitational.

Koehn saw limited action last year as transfer from Cowley College, but showed promise with a series of strong finishes in the Trojans' indoor and outdoor track seasons. Among of his best finishes were a fourth-place finish in the 5,000-meter run at the UCA Open and a sixth-place finish in the 10,000-meter run at the SBC Outdoor Championships.

The UALR women were picked to finish second in the Sun Belt in 2012. Erika LaCroix leads a group of returners that also includes Mackenzie Bloom and Marissa DeLaPaz.

LaCroix is coming off a strong campaign in 2011-12, collecting All-Conference honors in cross country and both indoor and outdoor track in her first year removed from Cowley College. The Shreveport, La.-native won the UALR Invitational in 2011 and placed seventh in the 5K at the SBC Cross Country Championships.

Bloom placed 23rd at last year's SBC Championships and finished fourth at the Arkansas Tech Twilight Run. The Bentonville, Ark.-native also added a sixth-place finish at the UALR Invite.

DeLaPaz placed seventh at last year's Arkansas Twilight and added an 11th place finish at the UALR Invitational. The senior qualified for the NCAA South Central Region in Waco, Texas, where she finished 92nd out of 149 runners.

UALR's regular season slate features two additional races after Friday's invitational. The Trojans head to Kentucky for the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 29, and will participate in the Chile Pepper Festival on Oct. 13.

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