WACO, Texas - Baylor's cross country teams will open the 2014 season by hosting the annual Bear Twilight Invitational at the Heart of Texas Soccer Complex on Friday.
The race is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. with the women's 4,000-meter loop, followed shortly after by the men's 6,000-meter loop. The course, at the HOT Soccer Complex, is located on the northwest side of Lake Waco near the Waco Regional Airport at 6101 Airport Road, Waco, Texas, 76708.
Baylor's teams, ranked fourth in the region on the women's side and 11th on the men's, will host men's and women's squads from North Texas, TCU, Texas, UT-Arlington as well as the SMU women.
"We are excited to host another outstanding group of teams," head coach Todd Harbour said. "It has always been a really good first meet for us. It is nice to get it started and see where you are at. We got a really good group of girls, probably a deeper team than we have ever had."
The women's depth will be on display on Friday as three top runners will not take part in the opening meet. Rachel Johnson, Mariah Kelly and Maggie Montoya will all be held out, after each had a long track season. However, sophomore Alex Davis, an all-region performer a year ago, will lead a group that includes returners Erin Hegarty, Peyton Thomas, Erica Overbeck, Bree Schrader and Sarah Guhl, who all competed for the Lady Bears at the Big 12 Championships. Freshman Ann-Marie Dunlap should provide young talent to an otherwise veteran squad.
On the men's side, All-Big 12 track performers Derwin Graham and Jonathan Tijerina are back, along with JR Hardy, Kyle Scanlan, Chris McElroy and Jordan West, who all competed for the Bears at the league meet. Junior Matt Galvin returns from an injury-plagued sophomore season to give BU even more depth. Meanwhile, freshman Eric Anderson has made an early case to be part of Baylor's travel group.
"This meet is almost like a scrimmage, but there are three or four other teams there and we get to see how we stack up," assistant coach Jon Capron said of the men's team. "I am really excited to get out on the course and see what areas we need to work on going forward."
Last year at the Bear Twilight, the BU women won the event for a second consecutive year with five runners in the top 10. Johnson has won the event in the past two seasons, while Davis finished second in 2013. On the men's side, the Bears were third in 2013 as departed senior Brad Miles took 10th, while juniors Kyle Scanlan and JR Hardy were 12th and 13th, respectively.
The Bear Twilight is the first of nine events on BU's 2013 schedule, but the only home meet of the season. Both the men and women will have next weekend off, before taking part in the UTA Season Opener on Sept. 13 in Arlington, Texas.
For updates on Baylor's cross country team, follow @BaylorTrack on Twitter.