COLUMBIA, Mo. – For the first time this season, the Texas A&M men’s and women’s cross country teams make a road trip to compete in the Gans Creek Classic Friday morning at the Gans Creek Cross Country Course.
“This is our third time coming out here, so we’ve seen the course multiple times,” distance coach Wendel McRaven said. “A big reason we are here is because Mizzou is hosting the SEC Championships. This doesn’t mean that this is our set SEC lineup, but it gives some people the opportunity to see the course for the first time. It looks like it’s going to be a good field and a good chance to see where we stack up against another SEC team.”
The gun sounds for the men’s 8k at 9 a.m., followed by the women’s 6k at 9:45 a.m. It will be the first of two trips to Columbia this season, Mizzou is the host for the Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships later this month on Oct. 29.
HOW TO KEEP UP
The Gans Creek Classic will be live-streamed via the PrimeTime Timing YouTube page. A live results link can be found on 12thMan.com, as well as following updates on Twitter (@aggietfxc). Admission is free and spectators should use the Discovery Parkway exit from 63 Highway and park north of the course for the Gans Creek Classic at Phillips Park.
LAST TIME OUT
Eric Casarez won the Texas A&M Invitational 8k with a Dale Watts course record time of 23:04.0 defeating the field by 43 seconds. It marked the second individual title this season for the speedster. Powered by three Aggies finishing in the top-5 of the women’s race, the Maroon & White secured its second team title of the season winning with 23 points. Julia Black paced the group finishing third overall at 17:31.1, followed by Maddie Livingston in fourth and Grace Plain in fifth. The Maroon & White defeated runner-up Rice by 26 points.
SEC WEEKLY HONORS
Following their performances at the Texas A&M Invitational, Casarez and Livingston earned SEC honors. Casarez was named the SEC Men’s Runner of the Week after posting the fastest time in the league. Livingston earned SEC Women’s Freshman Runner of the Week. It was the second time A&M earned the honor after Gemma Goddard received the accolade following her season-opening victory. Since joining the SEC, it was the first time that Texas A&M has had two different freshman earn the honor in the same season.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
Redshirt junior Brady Grant on running this course once before the SEC Championships…
“It’s really valuable. It gives us the lay of the land and a little bit of advantage of having come out here to run the course and see how it is. It’s a great opportunity to learn and have that freedom of failure if we take a risk. This meet isn’t the SEC Championships. Good or bad, we can learn from this weekend and that will help us later this month.”
Senior Grace Plain on the team and this meet…
“I’m really excited about where this team is at and the kind of culture we are creating. We’re excited about this race. This is another great opportunity for us to come out here and keep improving on this season.”
Texas A&M enters Juan Arcila, Joseph Benn, Casarez, Jonathan Chung, Colton Colonna, Brady Grant, Gavin Hoffpauir, Siddharth Jayaraman, Tim McElaney, and Victory Zuniga.
“Eric has developed into a really solid front runner,” McRaven said. “The rest of the guys are very close in ability. If they all run well, they should all be pretty close to one another. That’s the key, to get that spread from our second to the fifth runner to be as close as possible.”
Nine women will suit up including Black, Katelyn Buckley, Nicole Chastain, Emma Ellis, Gemma Goddard, Livingston, Plain, Emma Saia, and Abbey Santoro.
“It will be nice to have Abbey [Santoro] back in the mix after not racing last weekend,” stated McRaven. “They’ve ran really well, but they haven’t been challenged much as a team. This is a good opportunity to be challenged a little bit. I think we have a good group. That’s why we come here, it’s to get out of our comfort zone a little bit and off of our course to see something a little bit different.”
Baylor, Belmont, Bradley, Creighton, Drake, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Northern Iowa and Wichita State are a few of the teams to toe the line with Texas A&M.