Redshirt Freshman Mariah Kelly
Sept. 8, 2011
WACO, Texas - Coming off a win on the women's side and a runner-up finish on the men's, Baylor's cross country teams will make the trek to the UTA Season Opener on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Arlington, Texas.
The meet is scheduled for an 8 a.m. start time with the women on a two-mile course and the men racing a four-mile course at Vandergriff Park. Baylor's women, ranked fourth in the region, will take on sixth-ranked SMU and 15th-ranked UTA, along with TCU, Texas Wesleyan and Northwood. For the ninth-ranked Baylor men, regionally ranked TCU (13th), UTA, Arlington Baptist College, Texas Wesleyan and Northwood will all be in the field.
In the opening meet of the season, head coach Todd Harbour's experienced runners led the way, but a group of freshman on each side made a big impact. On the women's side, senior Cate Westenhover led the race wire-to-wire to collect her second straight Bear Twilight Invitational title in leading the Lady Bears to a team win.
Behind Westenhover, however, three BU freshman finished second, third and fourth overall, respectively. Former Nike National cross country champ Rachel Johnson was only seven seconds behind Westenhover with a four-kilometer time of 14:13.1, while Bree Schrader (14:16.1) and Erin Hegarty (14:23.1) completed the Baylor sweep of the top four spots. Senior Kristen Hanselka rounded out a five-runner, top-10 finish in eighth for the Bears.
With a large group of talented runners on the women's side, Harbour expects to rest some of his top runners this weekend, paving the way for his deep team to gain valuable experience near the front of the pack. Hanselka, along with 2010 NCAA qualifier Robyn Bennett and redshirt freshman Mariah Kelly will look to lead the group at UTA. Bennett placed 10th, while Kelly crossed in 14th on the opening weekend.
On the men's side, sophomore Brad Miles led a runner-up team finish for the Bears at their home meet with a fourth-place finish. Behind Miles, sophomore Taylor Jackson and a pair of freshmen, Derwin Graham and Alex Le Roux, were impressive for the Bears. Jackson was fourth, while Graham and Le Roux were eighth and ninth, followed by senior Zac Flowers in 21st.
The UTA Season Opener marks the second of a five-week stretch with one meet each weekend to begin the season for Baylor. The Bears will be back home on Sept. 17 for the Baylor Invitational at the BU Intramural Fields on campus.