NEW ORLEANS - Xavier University of Louisiana cross country standouts Zahri and Kwame Jackson have earned one more honor in what has been a memorable debut season for both. Sports Illustrated selected them for its weekly Faces in the Crowd feature, and the freshman siblings appear in the Nov. 7 issue
, which hit newsstands Wednesday.
"That is so cool," Zahri Jackson said Thursday when she learned of the recognition.
"That's pretty awesome," Kwame Jackson said.
"Wow!" Xavier coach Joseph Moses said. "That is a great honor."
The Jacksons, from the Houston suburb of Kingwood, Texas, and graduates of Kingwood Park High School, got SI's attention after both won individual titles in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 22 at Clinton, Miss. They helped Xavier win the women's and men's team championships for the sixth consecutive season.
"I'm still trying to find out if there's ever been a pair of siblings in college who won cross country individual championships in the same season," said Ed Cassiere, Xavier's sports information director. "I posed that question on the NAIA-SIDA Facebook page. No leads yet, but Mount Vernon Nazarene SID Dave Parsons replied with a great tip. He recommended that I contact Sports Illustrated and nominate them."
Zahri Jackson set XU women's records of 19 minutes, 15.18 seconds for 5,000 meters on Sept. 10 and 16:27.58 for 4,000 meters on Sept. 1. She has the Gold Nuggets' three fastest 5K times. Her 19:20.40 5K was the second fastest in 11 seasons by a female at the GCAC Championships.
Kwame Jackson's 5K of 16:12.13 on Sept. 10 was the fastest by an XU male since Farris Gransberry set the record of 15:46.80 in 2000. He ran 8,000 meters in 28:12.09 to win the GCAC title and defeat teammates and former conference champions Ray Walston and Matt Pieri.
The Jacksons won a combined eight GCAC Runner of the Week awards. Zahri collected five to set an XU season record, tie Ebony Harding's XU career record and match the GCAC women's season record set by Spring Hill's Kate Imwalle in 2009.
"Zahri and Kwame are great kids, great runners and great students," Moses said. "I am blessed to know them and be able to coach them."
Both Xavier squads will compete Nov. 19 in the NAIA National Championships at Vancouver, Wash.