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Cross Country Hosts Arturo Barrios Invitational

COLLEGE STATION, TX - September 25, 2021 - The Texas A&M Aggies Cross Country Team during the...
COLLEGE STATION, TX - September 25, 2021 - The Texas A&M Aggies Cross Country Team during the Aggie Invitational at Watts Cross Country Course in College Station, TX. Photo By Brendall O'Banon/Texas A&M Athletics(Brendall O'Banon | Brendall O'Banon)
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 5:17 PM CDT
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BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M men’s and women’s cross country teams host the Arturo Barrios Invitational on Saturday at the Dale Watts Cross Country Course.

“We’re always excited to run at home,” distance coach Wendel McRaven said. “Our athletes love the fact that their friends and families are out there cheering for them. They constantly talk about how fun it is to race at home. We have around 35 teams at this meet, so it will be a bigger field. That’s valuable for the athletes that could qualify for the NCAA Regional meet. It’s easy to get lost in a big field. Even in the SEC meet with 14 schools, if you’re not paying attention you can get lost in the field. It’s good for us to have the amount of teams we do at this meet to force us to do the things we need to do to find each other out there while we are racing.”

The men’s 8,000m race is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. followed by the women’s 6,000m race at 9:45 a.m. Admission to the meet is free and a limited amount of 12th Man Centennial items such as mini E. King Gill statues, sunglasses, keychains and 12th Man Centennial commemorative coins will be available to the early risers on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Those unable to attend the meet can follow @aggietfxc on Twitter for the most up-to-date results, while a live results link will be posted on 12thMan.com.

Last time out, the Aggie men’s team finished seventh in the Gans Creek Classic, while Eric Casarez won the 8,000m race with a course record time of 23:36.5. It was Casarez’s third consecutive victory and second consecutive meet breaking a course record. The women’s team won its third consecutive meet while four Aggies finished in the top 20. Julia Black paced the group with a fourth-place finish. Gemma Goddard, Abbey Santoro, and Maddie Livingston followed finishing sixth, 13th and 18th, respectively.

In 2018, the invitational was named after Arturo Barrios. A member of the Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame, Barrios was a three-time Southwest Conference champion as an Aggie, and set school records in the 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000, and 10,000 meters. In 1985, he was the silver medalist in the NCAA Championships in the 10,000m. His 10,000m time of 28:42.77 as runner-up at the 1985 Drake Relays still stands as the A&M school record.

“Arturo is arguably the greatest of all-time when it comes to distance running at Texas A&M,” said Casarez. “There is a reason we honor him every year and race his meet. The icing on the cake is the competition at the meet is always huge and it’s a great opportunity to honor what he accomplished. I want to be in the conversation of one of the greatest distance runners to run in the Maroon & White, just like Arturo was. That alone makes him a big role model to me.”

Thirty-eight women’s teams and 36 men’s teams enter the meet including Baylor, Sam Houston State, LSU, Rice, North Texas, SMU, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech, UT-Arlington, UTEP, UTSA and other regional teams. Eleven women’s teams and 10 men’s teams rank in the top-15 of the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association South Central regional rankings.