SUGAR LAND – Texas A&M will have a group of 21 runners competing at the Houston Baptist Cross Country Open on Friday afternoon as the women race over three miles at 5 p.m. and the men compete over a four mile distance at 5:30 the Sugar Land Memorial Park.

The Aggies will face teams from Houston, Houston Baptist, Monterrey Tech, Prairie View A&M, Rice, Southern, and Texas Southern as they race over a one mile loop course located at 15300 University Blvd. in Sugar Land.

“This meet is a chance for development with some of our kids,” noted Texas A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven. “This can be a big stepping stone meet for them as they try to earn a spot on the travel squad and continue to get better. That’s a key aspect to this meet, giving our developmental runners a chance to race. They make look great in training, but they need to line up in competition.”

An A&M women’s crew of nine runners will include Emily Bandy, Valarie Bradley, Lizette Chapa, Melanie Enriquez, Lauren Fontana, Shelby McNeel, Erica Moorhead, Katie Watson and Rachel Williams.

The Aggie men have a squad of 12 competing that includes Jake Bootz, Eli Canal, Julian Castellano, Taylor Clayton, Elliott Farris, Chandler Heikkila, Zach Martin, Aaron Murray, Jacob Perry, Kevin Peters, Nathan Ricketts, and Chase Van Voorhis.

“Some of the runners competing this week have been in our top seven,” said McRaven. “This gives them an opportunity to get some consistency with their racing. Runners who have been our number six or seven will be the leaders for us in this meet. Our goal is to win both team titles.”

The Aggie men won the team title last year with a 10-point margin over host Houston Baptist, 35 to 45, as A&M’s Ryan Teel claimed the individual title. Aggies also finished in the top four spots as Juan Uribe, competing unattached, placed second ahead of Christian Farris and Colin Stoeber.

A nine-point margin separated Baylor and Texas A&M last year on the women’s side with the Bears holding a 29-38 edge for the team title. Haley Deakins and Katie Pia were the top two Aggies, placing fifth and sixth.

Following the Notre Dame Invitational last weekend, the Aggie men remained ranked No. 4 in the South Central Region while the A&M women remained No. 5. After traveling to Alabama next Friday, on Oct. 16, the Aggies will host the SEC Championships on Friday, October 30, on the Dale Watts course.


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