Nov. 12, 2011
WACO, Texas - Freshman Rachel Johnson highlighted Baylor's day with an all-region performance at the NCAA South Central Cross Country Regional on Saturday at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco, Texas.
In the team races, Baylor finished sixth on the women's side and 12th on the men's side. For the women, the top two ranked teams in the region earned the automatic berths with Arkansas taking the regional title with 49 points and Texas finishing second at 69 points. For the men, Texas took the title with 40 overall points, while Texas A&M made the jump ahead of Arkansas for the second qualifying spot.
"It was pretty tough conditions out there with the wind, but I thought we got some good experience for our young teams," head coach Todd Harbour said. "Rachel (Johnson) and Erin (Hegarty) had really good races for us today. We just have to get ready for what's next, and that's track season."
The Baylor women entered the meet ranked 11th in the region, and with help of Johnson's leading performance, moved up. The freshman raced into the top 25, earning her first career NCAA all-region honor. Johnson covered the 6,000-meter course in a time of 21:33.5. Fellow freshman Erin Hegarty was next across the line for Baylor, placing 34th overall with a time of 21:59.8.
All five of Baylor's runners finished in the top 50 on the women's side with senior Cate Westenhover, senior Kristen Hanselka and sophomore Robyn Bennett rounding out the top five. Westenhover placed 38th at 22:14.9, Hanselka was 44th at 22:24.9 and Bennett was 47th at 22:29.3.
Sophomores Blake Niccum and Taylor Jackson were next across the line for the Bears. Niccum placed 80th at 33:43.4 and Jackson was 85th at 33:50.1. Freshman Derwin Graham rounded out the top five for Baylor in 96th place with a time of 34:27.9.
The event wraps up Baylor season, which included four top-five team finishes on the women's side and three more for the men. Each squad claimed one team title on the season with the women winning the Bear Twilight Invitational and the men taking the UT-Arlington Season Opener.