WACO, Texas - Fresh off strong showings at the Bear Twilight Invitational, Baylor's cross country teams will be back in action on Saturday at the UTA Season Opener at Vandergriff Park in Arlington, Texas.
"We are trying to get our athletes more comfortable racing with each other," assistant coach Jon Capron said. "We are itching to get as much experience as we can before the Big 12 and Regional meets."
The women's two-mile race will start at 8 a.m. and include teams from UT Arlington, North Texas, Northwood, SMU and Texas Wesleyan. Sophomore Rachel Johnson, who won last week's Bear Twilight Invitational and was named the Big 12 Runner of the Week, leads the Baylor women into competition following a first-place team finish in week one. The Bears are listed at No. 4 in the USTFCCCA's South Central Regional rankings.
"We are looking to get some races for the younger ones and some more training for everyone," Capron said. "You know you are going to get a full effort out of everybody when they put a jersey on. That is something you can't create in practice."
On the men's side, Brad Miles and Ben Allen will take the week off after finishing as Baylor's top two runners at the Bear Twilight Invitational to lead BU to a runner-up finish at the event. The Bears will still have four other runners that finished in the top 20 at last week's meet, including Matt Galvin, Blake Niccum, Taylor Jackson and Alex Le Roux. The men will be competing on a three-mile course against runners from UT Arlington, North Texas, Northwood and Texas Wesleyan.
"This meet will go a long way in to determining, who will travel for us this season, so there is a little bit on the line for these guys that want to travel with the top group," Capron said.
For the women and the men, Saturday's competition will be at a shorter distance than the 4,000 and 6,000-meter courses that the teams faced last week.
"The different distances will help some and hurt others," Capron said. "It is going to put an emphasis on getting out quick, which is a great thing to work on early in the season."
Following this weekend's meet, Baylor will not compete until Sept. 29 when the women go to the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn., and the men head to the Stanford Invitational in Stanford, Calif.