WACO – Texas A&M’s 2013 cross country season will start this Friday at the Baylor Bear Twilight Invite, which will include 10 ranked teams (five each among the men and women) from the South Central region. The Aggie men have won the Baylor meet the past two years, with last year’s team title being claimed by one point over the host Bears.
In addition to the Aggies and Baylor other teams involved with the meet, which features a 4,000-meter race for the women and a 6,000-meter race for the men, include Abilene Christian, Houston, North Texas, SMU, Texas and TCU.
The women’s race starts at 7 p.m. with the men’s race to follow at the Heart of Texas Soccer Complex, which is located at 6101 Airport Road in Waco.
"The Baylor meet will be a good rust buster for some of our athletes,” noted Texas A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven. “Over the past couple years this meet has been a good chance for athletes who have not been in the top-seven or on the travel squad previously to prove themselves. It’s an opportunity to see the progress people have made over the summer."
Competing for the Aggie men to open the cross country season is a trio of seniors in Micah Dettmer, Dylan Williams and Bobby Zeller along with a pair of juniors in Austin Geerts and Jake Roberts. The remainder of A&M’s 10-man squad includes five freshmen runners – Aaron Murray, Nathan Ricketts, Colin Stoeber, Cameron Thornton and Dillon Worley.
Upperclassmen running on the women’s team include juniors Johanna Galloway, Caitlin Gilmore and Heather Sterling. In addition to a pair of sophomores in Ashley Chamberlain and Rachel Williams, the Aggie 12-runner crew will include seven freshmen – Haley Deakins, Lauren Fontana, Meredith Gleitz, Katie Pia, Sara Shaw, Katie Willard and Emily Willingham.
"This won't be a full squad, but anytime we line up people with Texas A&M on their chests we set the bar high,” McRaven said. “The men have won this meet the last two years, so it will be fun to try to keep that streak alive.
"The conditions on Friday evening should be hot, so we will have to race intelligently. We're from Texas, so it won't be a shock for us."
Among recent South Central region rankings the men’s field at the Bear Twilight includes No. 2 Texas (15th nationally), No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 11 Houston, No. 14 North Texas and No. 15 Baylor. In the women’s field region ranked teams include No. 2 Texas (27th nationally), No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 SMU, No. 6 Baylor, and No. 8 TCU.
In the pre-season national rankings released this week, the A&M women were among nine teams receiving votes outside of the top 30 poll along with Georgia and Florida. Nationally ranked teams from the SEC included Arkansas (No. 5) and Florida (No. 23) in the men’s poll as well as Arkansas (No. 9) and Vanderbilt (No. 20) in the women’s rankings.