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The Mean Green has several new faces in the coaching department, including Stefanie Slekis, the new cross-country coach.
Slekis arrived this summer and inherits two solid teams. The men's team placed second at the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Championships, while the women were runner-ups at the 2011 championship.
The men started off the season fast with a first-place finish at the Bear Twilight Invitational on August 30. The men and women continue the season with a meet at UTA on Saturday, Sept. 14.
North Texas also hosts two meets this season. The annual Ken Garland Invitational is set for Saturday, Sept. 28, and the Mean Green will host the Conference USA Championships on November 2.
Stefanie Slekis is in her fourth year as the Head North Texas Cross Country Coach and an Assistant Coach for Track and Field.
In her three years, some of the notable accolades include: 2013, 2014 & 2015 men’s & women’s USTFCCCA All-Academic team honors, 22 Individual All-Conference USA Cross Country honors earned, six Individual All-Region South Central honors earned, one Individual NCAA Cross Country Nationals Qualifier, nine men’s & women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field records broken, women’s Indoor Mile, 5000m, Distance Medley Relay & Outdoor 3000m Steeplechase and 10000m; men’s Indoor Distance Medley Relay, 800m, and 5000m and men’s Outdoor 5000m.
In just her first two years as the Cross Country coach, Slekis led the Mean Green men's team to their first Conference USA Championship, and the women to a third place finish. Ten North Texas runners received all-conference individual honors. Charlotte Wilson was named to the Conference USA All-Academic team.
At the 2015 NCAA South Central Regional Championships, the men and women's teams continued to surpass their previous rankings, placed within the top ten for the second year in a row, with the men's team finishing 4th and the women's team placing 8th. Troy Taylor, Alejandro Valencia, and Silvester Harrison earned all-region honors. Troy Taylor placed eighth in the men's 10K race, allowing him to compete in the NCAA Cross-Country National Championships.
In the 2014 Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field seasons, Slekis led the distance program and set seven school records, including: the Men's Indoor Distance Medley Relay, Indoor 5,000m, and Indoor 800m and the Women's Indoor 5,000m, Mile, and Outdoor Women's 3,000m Steeplechase and 10,000m.
The Mean Green distance men recorded six top-eight finishes at the 2014 C-USA Indoor Championships, while the women's side grabbed two runner-up finishes and an additional top-six finish. At the C-USA Outdoor Championships three athletes earned All Conference honors placing in the top three in their events while two additional athletes scored team points in their events with top 8 finishes.
Troy Taylor and Charlotte Wilson went on to represent Mean Green distance at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field West Preliminary Round of the National Championship. Taylor competed in the Men's 1500m while Wilson competed in the Women's 3,000m Steeplechase. Wilson also recorded the 5th fastest Women's 3,000m Steeplechase run by any female Australian athlete during 2014 with a time of 10:13.10
Slekis spent the 2012-13 season as a volunteer assistant coach for Florida State's women's cross country and distance track program. During 2011-12, she served as a graduate assistant coach for the distance group at McNeese State, while completing her master's degree at Arizona State.
In her undergraduate career, she competed for Syracuse University cross-country and track & field teams and she was a three-time Big East all-academic student-athlete, earning the Athletic Director's honor-roll award all eight semesters.
Throughout her collegiate career, Slekis earned All-Big East honors twice as a senior, finishing eighth in the 3000-meters during the indoor season and fourth in the 3000-meter steeplechase in the outdoor season. Stefanie stood eighth in the NCAA East Region in steeplechase (10:20.68) and was a regional qualifier in the 10,000M (34:52.12).
Her successful career started at Forest Park High School, where she earned 15 all-state honors in cross-country and track.