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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Cross Country

Cross country tries to continue success at HBU

The women's squad finished ninth at the Rice Invitational. | Isabella Serimontrikul/The Daily Cougar

Both the men and women’s teams aim to extend their glowing runs after having top-10 finishers at the Texas A&M Invitational last weekend.  | File photo/The Cougar

Cross country will travel cross-town to Houston Baptist University Friday afternoon and compete in the Houston Baptist Invitational.

The team is coming off of an impressive performance at the Texas A&M Invitational last weekend where both men and women’s were top 10 finishers. This was unsurprising because both teams have placed in the top 10 in each of the first three meets to start the season.

“I think at A&M we proved some things to ourselves,” Sophomore runner G.J. Reyna said. “We realized that although we’re redshirting some guys, our top two, three and four from last year, that we can still get the job done. We came out of A&M a lot better than we thought we would, so that’s a big confidence booster for us.”

At the meet, the Cougars ran against talented competition from Rice University, Baylor University, the University of Kentucky, Texas Christian University, Louisiana State University and Texas A&M University.

The showing proved that both teams have the stature to compete against quality opponents.

Reyna has been the top finisher for the men’s team this season and finished 24th overall at the A&M meet. He, along with redshirt senior Selena Sierra for the women’s, have been the top two placers for the Cougars in 2016 and will be looked at to continue scoring valuable points.

At the Houston Baptist Invitational this weekend, the Cougars will not be running their usual squad, however.

With the team traveling to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for the Alabama Crimson Classic next Friday, head coach Steve Magness has not yet decided who to rest this weekend in preparation for next.

The Houston Baptist Invitational presents an opportunity to fine tune their racing. Magness wants the team to execute their race plans properly so they will be prepared and focused when they travel to Alabama.

“For HBU, we’re running a few guys to get a feel for some of them,” Manager Drevan Anderson-Kaapa said. “We still have a lot of guys who are redshirting, so HBU allows us to gauge where they’re falling in the ranking of the team. HBU is still going to be the same preparation process.”

Anderson-Kaapa said that there is still much experience to gain despite the Houston Baptist Invitational being one of the team’s smaller meets.

The team must take every meet as serious as the next to place better in races.

“Even though this meet might seem a little more low-key, they’re still going to be preparing the same,” Anderson-Kaapa said. “Those guys are going to be ready to get in there. They’re preparing their mind, training in practice, executing, committing even when it starts to hurt.”

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