WACO, Texas – For only the fourth time in the last 13 seasons, Baylor cross country will not be hosting the NCAA South Central Regional. BU's teams will travel to College Station, Texas, to compete in the event on Friday.
The women's 6,000-meter race will be the first event of the day at 10 a.m., followed by the men's 10,000-meter race at 11 a.m. at Watts Cross Country Course.
As part of the South Central Region, the Bears will face teams from Arkansas, Louisiana and the eastern half of Texas.
Regional teams will put their top seven runners out in an effort to be one of the top two teams in the regional and in turn earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. As in other races this fall, only the top five times from those seven runners will count towards the team score.
Along with the top two teams, the top four individuals not on an advancing team receive an automatic berth into the national meet. Additional teams and individuals are chosen through an at-large selection process for the 2015 NCAA Championship, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 21, in Louisville, Ky.
The Baylor women are currently No. 6 in the USTFCCCA's South Central regional rankings. The Baylor men are 11th in the USTFCCCA's South Central regional rankings.
Following an eighth-place finish at the Big 12 Championships, the BU women will only face conference foes Texas and TCU. Last season, the Baylor women were second at the regional to earn a trip back the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2009 with All-Region performances from four athletes, including departed seniors Rachel Johnson and Mariah Kelly, along with returning juniors Maggie Montoya and Alex Davis.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity, and the girls are peaking at the right time,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “I think they’re ready, we had good workouts last week. I think SMU is the team to beat. Our region is down this year, compared to what it’s been, so it’s a good year. We don’t have to be great, we just have to be good.”
Besides Davis and Montoya returning, the Bears will also have regional returnees in Dunlap, Thomas and Zimmerman. Meanwhile, Miller, Orr and Rohde could be getting their first regional experience for Baylor.
The Baylor men are 11th in the region, after claiming seventh at the Big 12 Championships. The Bears will be looking to improve upon last season's 12th-place finish at the regional meet.
“I think they’re probably better trained for a 10K than an 8K right now,” Harbour said. “It’s as good a group as he’s had, just as far as their work ethic. They’re the kind of guys you want to go to battle with. It’s just a bunch of guys that love Baylor, love being here and they’re going to represent very well down there.”
Anderson, Galvin, McElroy and Scanlan all ran on last season’s regional squad for BU, while Anderson has been the lead runner for the Bears in all five of his races this season.
Complete results and a recap of the meet will be available on BaylorBears.com following the event.
To stay current on all things Baylor cross country, follow the team on Twitter: @BaylorTrack.