SUGAR LAND – Texas A&M cross country squads swept the team titles at the Houston Baptist Open on the Sugar Land Memorial Park course Friday with the Aggie men edging the host Huskies by three points, 27-30, as the A&M women bettered the field by 37 points with a tally of 18 points.
“They did a nice job and for the most part did what we intended to do,” said Texas A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven. “The women got things off to a great start. The men also had a solid race in finishing ahead of HBU’s A team. For what we consider our B group to defeat a team’s A squad at their home meet is always a good thing.”
Aggie Katie Watson claimed the individual title in the women’s 5,000-meter race as she covered the course in 18 minutes, 47.51 seconds over teammate Lauren Fontana, who clocked 19:03.54 as runner-up. Texas A&M’s score of 18 points placed them ahead of Houston Baptist (55), Rice (66) and Prairie View A&M (102).
“Katie Watson, who is somebody that should be in our top seven, had a good effort to win the race with Lauren Fontana finishing behind her,” noted McRaven. “Both of those girls have a good shot at making our travel squad, but I wanted to see them prove it in a race rather than just do it in training. They did a nice job leading the way today.”
A&M women also produced the number 4-5-6 finishers in team scoring as Valerie Bradley (19:11.41), Shelby McNeel (19:20.10) and Emily Bandy (19:27.57) placed fourth, sixth and seventh among the field of 40 runners.
The next group of finishers for the Aggies included Lizette Chapa (19:37.07), Rachel Williams (19:37.73), Erica Moorhead (19:40.49) and Melanie Enriquez (20:02.24) as they placed ninth, 11th, 12th and 16th.
With the men’s race won by unattached runner Jose Martinez in 20:12.57, Aggie Elliott Farris was the runner-up and first finisher associated with a team as he completed the four mile course in 20:26.36.
Houston Baptist sent the next three runners across the finish line as A&M claimed the next four scoring positions with Jacob Perry (20:49.56), Aaron Murray (20:52.11), Eli Canal (20:57.69) and Zach Martin (21:03.67) in producing the Aggies score of 27 points.
“Elliott’s a guy who has traveled in the past and is kind of a bubble guy to make the travel team,” stated McRaven. “I think he wanted to prove some things out here today. The rest of those guys are the ones who keep coming on and getting a little bit better. Maybe not this year, but a year from now they will be some of the guys we are relying on.”
With HBU having a score of nine points through its first three finishers, the next pair of Huskie runners scored nine and 12 points to reach its total of 30. Texas Southern (95) and Prairie View A&M (100) rounded out the men’s teams in the meet.
Pushing Houston Baptist’s score back by a couple of points were the A&M pair of Chase Van Voorhis (21:08.03) and Kevin Peters (21:20.03), who placed 11th and 12th. Jake Bootz (21:29.47), Chandler Heikkila (21:33.25) and Taylor Clayton (22:09.26) rounded out the Aggie crew as they finished 15th, 17th and 24th among the field of 47.
Houston Baptist Open – Sugar Land Memorial Park
MEN: 1. Texas A&M 27; 2. Houston Baptist 30; 3. Texas Southern 95; 4. Prairie View A&M 100.
WOMEN: 1. Texas A&M 18; 2. Houston Baptist 55; 3. Rice 66; 4. Prairie View A&M 102.