Aug. 30, 2011
WACO, Texas- Baylor's cross country teams will officially kick off the 2011 season as host of the annual Bear Twilight Invitational at the Heart of Texas Soccer Complex in Waco, Texas.
The race is schedule to begin at 7:00 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 ninth on the men's, will host regionally ranked Texas A&M (3rd -Women's, 5th - Men's), as well as Abilene Christian, Dallas Baptist, Northwood, Tarleton State, UT-Tyler and Texas State's women.
Baylor enters the season with their top two runners from last season on the women's side and five of the Lady Bears' top seven. For the men, the situation is exactly the opposite with just two of last season's top seven, but a promising group of underclassmen has the Bears looking to claw their way up the rankings.
"Right now, I like both teams," head coach Todd Harbour. "We have been working hard this fall getting ready for the season, and we're excited about getting started."
On the women's side, senior Cate Westenhover and sophomore Robyn Bennett return as Baylor's lone qualifiers from last season's NCAA Championships. Westenhover and Bennett will try to lead Baylor back to the NCAA Championship as a team, after snapping a string of seven consecutive years last season. The pair earned all-region honors and the two individual NCAA berths with fourth and seventh-place finishes at the NCAA South Central Regional in Waco.
Westenhover is a two-time all-region performer and two-time NCAA qualifier, while Bennett earned both accolades in her freshman campaign. The Lady Bears also return the services of seniors Samantha Patty, Kristen Hanselka and Lindsay Warner, while welcoming a large group of talented freshman that includes 2010 Nike national champion Rachel Johnson from Plano, Texas.
For the men, senior Zac Flowers and sophomore Brad Miles lead the 2011 Baylor squad that features a group of six freshmen that will be battling for a chance to compete in the top seven. Flowers finished in Baylor's top five at both the Big 12 Championship and NCAA South Central Regional, while Miles contributed during his freshman campaign in the top five four times. Miles placed third overall at the UTA Season Opener to lead Baylor to a team victory.