The start-up womenís cross country team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University continues to pick up steam.†

Head coach Jason Covarrubias has announced the signing of a new member of the Running Lady Lions team with the acquisition of Kristen Herrington.

She comes to SAGU from Hudson High School, near Lufkin. She ran both cross country and track for head coach Amy Stewart.

The Class 3A Hornets team won the district championship in each of the past four years, advancing on multiple occasions to Regional and State meets.

Individually, Herrington was a District Champ three times and has qualified for a berth at state. Additionally, she won a district title in track and field.

Apart from athletics, the native of Lufkin was named an All-Star Drug-Free Student as well as serving as Student Council President. She has also been a member of the National Honor Society.

A pet lover, Herrington would eventually like to study veterinarian medicine. Her faith has developed at Southside Baptist Church of Lufkin.† She has served on an inner-city service project to New Orleans where the team helped do construction work on a church while reaching out to area young people. She has also gained experience in coaching at a local Christian school.

Through her church, she has participated as a referee and an assistant coach in their Upward Basketball program, which is a highly respected national program by Baptist churches.

Covarrubias, who won a national championship in his second year of coaching at Arlington Baptist College, is recruiting student-athletes for SAGUís inaugural campaign. He is coaching both the menís and womenís teams, who compete in the same schedule of meets.

The Lions will compete as a dual member in both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).†

The NAIA is older than the NCAA and currently has 260 member institutions. The NCCAA has nearly 120 schools who range from the NAIA through Divisions 2 and 3 in the NCAA.

SAGU has joined the 11-team Sooner Athletic Conference, which has four schools in Texas, six in Oklahoma and one from Arkansas.

The first of four meets that SAGU has entered is in Abilene on Sept. 7 at McMurry University.

Their other three races are all hosted by nationally ranked programs at Texas Wesleyan University on Sept. 21, Oklahoma Baptist University on Oct. 12 and at the Mid-States Classic in Kansas on Oct. 26.

Two postseason venues are on the horizon as well. The Sooner Athletic Conference meet is slated for Nov. 9 near Oklahoma City and the NCCAA Nationals on Nov. 16 in Dayton, Ohio.