Eric Casarez wins at Aggie Opener

Aggies Eric Casarez and Gemma Goddard claimed individual titles, while Texas A&M swept the men’s and women’s team titles Wednesday night at the Aggie Opener at the Dale Watts Cross Country Course.

“I thought Eric [Casarez] looked good and Gemma [Goddard] looked real good in her first collegiate race,” said head coach Pat Henry. “You could see a group out there that was trying to run as a team and trying to get some things done together. It’s good to get out there early and see some things about yourself as a team, that’s what this was about today.”

After an hour of lightning delay, the gun sounded as the women kicked off the 2021 season. A&M finished 1-3-5-6-9 to total 24 points, defeating runner-up SMU by 25 points. Goddard out leaned Steffi Jones of SMU at the finish line to claim the individual title by .2 seconds, she completed the 4.1k course at 14:26.8. The true freshman jumped eight positions from the halfway mark to earn her first collegiate victory.

Abbey Santoro placed third at 14:27.8, followed by Maddie Livingston in fifth at 14:31.8. Julia Black crossed the finish line sixth (14:33.1), while Grace Plain placed ninth (14:48.0) to round out the top five Aggie finishers.

In the men’s race, Casarez showcased complete dominance defeating the field by 24 seconds. The speedster ran the first 2k in 5:53.9, before stopping the clock at 15:14.5. The junior completed the 5k course without ever giving up the leading position.

Joseph Benn joined Casarez with a top-five finish, the freshman crossed the finish line at 15:44.2 to place fourth. Fellow Aggies Victor Zuniga (15:54.1), Gavin Hoffpauir (15:56.7) and Jonathan Chung (16:01.9) each recorded top 10 finishes to help the Aggies claim the team title by 54 points.

Next Up

Texas A&M takes a three-week break from competition before hosting the Texas A&M Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 25.

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