ARLINGTON, Texas - For a second straight week, sophomore Rachel Johnson took top individual honors to help the Baylor's women's cross country team stay unbeaten in 2012, while the men's squad finished in second at the UTA Season Opener at Vandergriff Park on Saturday.
"We got a good, solid effort from our whole team," head coach Todd Harbour said. "It was good to get a race in. It was what we needed. We had to get out and get after it pretty quick. I was very pleased with the overall effort."
Despite battling a cold during her run, Johnson completed the two-mile course in 10:50.2 just outracing the meet's second-place finisher by .6 seconds. The Plano, Texas-native had 13 other teammates finish inside the top 25, including four times inside the top 11 to give BU a team score of 29. Bree Schrader (11:05.3) was fourth, followed by Erin Hegarty (11:09.2) in sixth. Mariah Kelly (11:12.6) was seventh, while Leah Frazier (11:27.0) tallied BU's final counting score in 11th place,
"One of the positives on the women's side is that we had a big gap between our fourth and fifth runners last week, but we shut that down this week to 15 seconds from 40," Harbour said. "That is something we really wanted to do, so the girls really responded well to that."
On the men's side, UTA got out of the gate and the Bears were never able to catch up on the short three-mile course. The Mavericks claimed the top five times, but a multitude of BU runners were close behind. JR Hardy was the fastest Bear finishing in sixth place in 15:22.1. Baylor's five other scoring times were turned in by Kyle Scanlan (15:22.9), Matt Cochran (15:23.7), Blake Niccum (15:32.8), who finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively, while Chris McElroy (15:33.9) was 11th.
"I was a little disappointed in our finish," assistant coach Jon Capron
said. "I thought we were going to run a little better than we did. The three-mile distance is so far outside of what we train for that it came up on us a little bit quick."
The Bears had five other runners in the top 20 of the event.
"The good news is that there were a lot of us up there near the top," Capron said. "We didn't really rest up for this race either. I think we will do a lot better when we have a little more real estate."
The Baylor squads will now be off from competition for three weeks before the women go to the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn., and the men head to the Stanford Invitational in Stanford, Calif, on Sept. 29.