Sept. 28, 2012
WACO, Texas - After a three-week break from competition, the Baylor cross country teams will get back to racing on Saturday as the men's squad heads to the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., while the women travel to the Roy Griak Invitational in Saint Paul, Minn.
The Baylor men, who are ranked 12th in the USTFCCCA's South Central regional rankings will send Ben Allen, Brad Miles, Matt Galvin, Taylor Jackson, Blake Niccum, plus four freshman, Matthew Cochran, JR Hardy, Chris McElroy and Kyle Scanlan, to compete in the 39th-annual event.
"The time off provided us with a great block of training," assistant head coach Jon Capron said. "As a team, this has been the best block of training that I have seen us put together. Everybody is running together and the times all check out, so it looks like they are doing great. I am hoping it shows up on paper when we go out to Stanford."
The 8000-meter men's race will be held at the Stanford University Golf Course starting at 11:50 a.m. (CT). Other schools competing at the event include host Stanford, ranked No. 9 in the nation, and Cal Poly, California, Cal State-Fullerton, Fresno State, Loyola Marymount, North Dakota State, Pepperdine, Sacramento State, Saint Mary's, San Jose State, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Diego, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, USC and Utah.
"It is a great meet," Capron said. "You get to see a slice of the very good teams, because Stanford is a perennial power, but the depth isn't quite as good as some of the giant meets that are going on this weekend. It is a great meet for our young team in that there are a lot of people for us to race."
This season, the Bears have finished second in both the Bear Twilight Invitational and the UTA Season Opener. Miles led BU at the home meet by finishing fourth, while Hardy captured a sixth-place finish in the UTA event. For his efforts, Hardy won the Big 12 Runner of the Week award.
Baylor last competed at the Stanford Invitational in 2009 with the men's team finishing eighth. Junior Robbie Knorr led the Baylor contingent with a sixth-place finish.
The Baylor women, who are listed as the fourth-best team in the USTFCCCA's South Central Regional rankings, will be looking to remain unbeaten in 2012 at the 27th running of the Roy Griak Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota.
"We have worked really hard over the past three weeks," head coach Todd Harbour said. "I think the girls are ready to roll. We are healthy and ready to give a good showing. It is a big meet and it always a quality field up there."
BU won the Bear Twilight Invitational and the UTA Season Opener in back-to-back weeks to start the season. In both of those meets, the Bears were led by sophomore Rachel Johnson, who took medalist honors on both the 4,000-meter and two-mile courses. She received the Big 12's Runner of the Week honor following both her wins.
Joining Johnson to represent Baylor this weekend will be Hailey Blackwell, Leah Frazier, Erin Hegarty, Lauren Hierholzer, Meredith Jackson, Mariah Kelly, Kim Kirby, Brittany OgunMokun and Bree Schrader.
"I think we have some girls ready to run at a pretty high level, because their workouts have been super," Harbour said. "They have handled everything that we have done so far as well as any team that I have had. It is time to put it on paper and see what happens up there."
Saint Paul's Les Bolstad Golf Course will serve as the site for the six-kilometer race that begins at 1:10 p.m. (CT).
Other schools competing at the event include Augustana, Boise State, Central Michigan, Connecticut, Drake, Guelph, Illinois State, Iowa, Iowa State, James Madison, Minnesota, Portland, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Utah State, Utah Valley and Weber State. Fifth-ranked Iowa State and 16th-ranked Weber State are the two ranked teams in the field.
Baylor last competed at the Roy Griak Invitational in 2010 with the women earning a 14th-place finish. Cate Westenhover was the top BU runner on the day by coming in 20th.