WACO - Texas A&M men opened their cross country season with a successful title defense as they defeated the host Bears by one point, 37-38, to claim top honors at the Baylor Twilight. Even with the race beginning in the evening, the temperature was still in the high 90s with a heat index still over 100.
Colin Slattery led the Aggie effort, placing second over the 6,000-meter course at the Heart of Texas Soccer Complex with a time of 18:54.3. Tye Doty of Tarleton State won the race in 18:51.4. Another pair of A&M runners placed in the top 10 as Dylan Williams finished fourth in 19:08.1 with Jake Roberts seventh in 19:12.2.
"It was a solid start," said Texas A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven. "I'm really pleased with Colin, Dylan and Jake for finishing in the top 10. I thought they all ran really well. Jake Hervey was right there with them until he fell in 40 meters of the race. I think there are some guys in that group who are making a push to contend for a top seven spot on the team.
"This was one of the hottest meets I've ever coached in. So, given the heat and humidity, I thought both squads fared well to open the season."
The Aggie women finished third with 75 points as Baylor won with 38 points while SMU placed second with 53. Sophie Blake and Amanda Jenkins led A&M's effort with a pair of top 10 finishes. Blake covered the 4,000-meter course in 14:06.9 to place eighth while Jenkins clocked 14:11.3 for 10th place.
"I was really pleased with how Sophie stuck her nose in there with a competitive field and the progress Amanda Jenkins has made," noted McRaven. "Those are a pair of runners who weren't in our top seven a year ago and now are making a legitimate push to be in the conversation."
Bobby Zeller paced the next set of Aggies to finish in the men's race, placing 11th in 19:27.3 with Weston O'Donnell 13th in 19:39.2. O'Donnell finished ahead of the fifth Baylor runner by 0.4 of a second to secure the Aggie team victory. Also competing for A&M were Micah Dettmer, who finished 23rd (20:00.8), with Jake Hervey placing 24th (20:06.5) and James Welin in 32nd (20:37.3).
Rounding out the A&M women's scoring five were Shawn Dalglish in 15th place at 14:27.9, Hillary Montgomery in 16th place with a 14:31.1, and Grace Fletcher running 15:10.7 to place 26th. In her debut with the Aggies, freshman Laura Craig ran 15:11.5 to finish 27th.
Other members of the A&M women's squad included Caitlin Gilmore (30th - 15:17.7), Julie Blanco (35th - 15:20.1), Margo Lyons (39th - 15:24.9), Heather Sterling (41st - 15:30.8), Kate Mohr (49th - 15:45.4), Johanna Galloway (50th - 15:50.6), and Alex Perouty (68th - 16:33.1).
Men: 1. Texas A&M 37; 2. Baylor 38; 3. Tarleton State 94; 4. TCU 108; 5. Angelo State 114; 6. Dallas Baptist 153; 7. Texas State 170.
Women: 1. Baylor 38; 2. SMU 53; 3. Texas A&M 75; 4. TCU 78; 5. Dallas Baptist 124; 6. Texas State 167; 7. Tarleton State 193; 8. Angelo State 197.