Texas A&M’s cross country season gets started on Thursday with the Baylor Twilight as the Aggies venture to Waco for the first of three meets hosted by the Bears this fall.
With a 7 p.m. start at Baylor’s Heart of Texas Soccer Complex, A&M will have a mixture of veterans and newcomers competing on Thursday. Other members of the Aggie team will open the season on a Sept. 17 visit to Waco for the Baylor Invitational.
“For me, as the head coach, this meet gives me an opportunity to see a new assistant coach at Texas A&M working with our distance runners,” said Aggie head coach Pat Henry, who starts his eighth season with the A&M program. “We have a cross country group that we are excited about this year. This week is the start of us trying to find some depth and see which of the younger athletes have the potential to contribute. We know who some of our key people are, and they will open their season in a couple of weeks.”
In addition to host Baylor, other teams competing at the Twilight meet include Abilene Christian, Dallas Baptist, Northwood, Tarleton State, UT-Tyler and Texas State women.
Texas A&M begins the cross country season with its men’s team ranked third and the women’s team ranked fifth in the South Central rankings. The host Bears are third in the women’s rankings and ninth among the men’s rankings.
“This meet is giving me a chance to evaluate some of the younger kids in the program and some others who have been on the cusp of being contributors,” noted assistant coach Wendel McCraven, who is starting his first season with the Aggies. “The number one thing is this allows me to see some people I’ve never seen compete run in an Aggie uniform.
“I’m real excited to see some of the freshmen we will have running this week, particularly a significant group of freshmen women. Everybody’s a little different, so it will be interesting to see how they react on race day. This first meet gives some athletes that opportunity, as we see which ones are gamers and show potential to contribute.”
Running on the men’s 6,000-meter course for A&M will be a crew of 10 runners with a pair of juniors in C.J. Brown and George Stredny, seven sophomores in James Bonn, Jordan Chappell, Micah Dettmer, Ethan Doherty, Austin Geerts, Dylan Williams and Bobby Zeller, along with one freshman in Neil Longenbaugh.
A dozen Aggie women will compete on a 4,000-meter course. The crew will have a pair of juniors in Shawn Dalglish and Brenna Farren, along with three sophomores in Sophie Blake, Colbea Harris and Gabby Salazar. There will also be seven freshmen making their debut with A&M – Grace Fletcher, Johanna Galloway, Kelsey Hermes, Margo Lyons, Kate Mohr, Alex Perouty and Heather Sterling.
DIRECTIONS: The Heart of Texas Soccer Complex is located on the northwest side of Lake Waco, near the Waco Regional Airport at 6101 Airport Road.
2011 Texas A&M Cross Country Schedule
1 Baylor Twilight Waco (Soccer Complex) 7 p.m.
17 Baylor Invitational Waco 8 a.m.
30 Notre Dame Invitational South Bend, Indiana 1 p.m.
14 Wisconsin Interregional Madison, Wisconsin 1 p.m.
29 Big 12 Championships College Station 10 a.m.
12 South Central Region Waco (Cottonwood CC) 10 a.m.
21 NCAA Championships Terre Haute, Indiana 11 a.m.
South Central Region Rankings
3. Texas A&M
6. McNeese State
7. Stephen F. Austin
10. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
5. Texas A&M
7. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
8. Stephen F. Austin
10. McNeese State