WACO, Texas - Led by a first-place finish from sophomore Rachel Johnson, Baylor's women took home top team honors, while the men finished second overall at the season-opening Bear Twilight Invitational on Friday night in Waco, Texas.
With the sun settling down over the trees in the early evening, the heat subsided a few degrees for the Baylor men's and women's cross country teams to open the season. For the women, Johnson's top finish led a Baylor top five that all finished in the top 20, including four in the top 10 to score just 38 team points. Meanwhile, junior Brad Miles led the men with a third-place finish that featured three BU runners in the top eight, also giving the men 38 points for a second-place finish to Texas A&M's 37.
"I was really pleased with our effort overall," head coach Todd Harbour said. "We came out here and really competed well even though we had some warm weather. I'm really proud of both the men and the women, and I think we looked really good for the first meet of the season. We've got a lot of season left, but this is a good place to start."
Johnson covered the women's 4,000-meter course in just 13 minutes, 28 seconds, to win by nearly 12 seconds. In comparison, Johnson's time was 45 seconds ahead of her pace from last season's Bear Twilight Invite. Also in the top five, fellow sophomores Erin Hegarty and Bree Schrader raced each other to the line with Hegarty taking fourth overall at 13:58.8 and Schrader fifth in 13:59.6.
Junior Mariah Kelly was the fourth-fastest Baylor running and came in ninth overall at 14:09.6, while sophomore Karlee Kleiber rounded out the BU top five with a 19th-place finish in a time of 14:45.0.
On the men's side, Miles paced the Bears as one of just three times in the entire field under 19 minutes on the 6,000-meter course. He came in third at 18:54.3, while junior Ben Allen and sophomore Matt Galvin finished seventh and eighth, respectively, with times of 19:08.6 and 19:09.8.
Baylor will be back in action next weekend at the UTA Season Opener on Sept. 8 in Arlington, Texas. The BU men will enter the UTA meet as the defending champions from last season, including Miles, who took top overall honors.