By: Nathan Keil | Sports Writer
The Baylor men’s and women’s cross country teams are more than ready to get their season under way. The teams will take to the track and participate tonight in the Bear Twilight Invitational at the Heart of Texas Soccer Complex.
“We’re really excited to get started with this season,” said Nashville, Tenn., junior Eric Anderson. “The Twilight is always a fun event, getting the crowd behind us, we know the course pretty well. It’s just down the road, so we know what to expect. We’re going to have some good competition.”
The invitational will serve as a much-needed measuring tool for Baylor as it heads into several big meets in the upcoming weeks.
“This is a great opportunity for them, [to] prove what work they’ve done over the summer,” said assistant head coach John Capron. Excited to see what work they’ve done and to showcase that a little bit in front of the home crowd.”
Anderson is not shy about the goals and expectations of the team for the 2016 season.
“Our goal for the season before we started is to get fourth in conference and be in the running to make nationals,” Anderson said. “I think we need to be in the top two to do so. We’ll probably have to beat a team like Texas or Arkansas, who is very very good.”
Despite the excitement surrounding the first meet, Capron is not ready yet to reveal his entire hand just yet.
“I want to see some of their cards, but I don’t want them to play their high cards yet —that’s later in the season—but I want to see they have a hand to begin with,” Capron said.
The expectations are perhaps as high as they have ever been for the Baylor women’s team. He boasts an abundance of talent and experience, but the biggest factor for the Bears this season will simply be staying healthy.
“It’s a great group. A good mix of returning veterans, and maybe the best class I’ve ever brought in,” said head coach Todd Harbour. “They’re outstanding girls and neat people, and they’ve worked hard over the summer and all are in really good shape. For the most part, we’re all really healthy right now. It could be as good a team as I’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Roswell, Ga., senior Peyton Thomas is excited to embrace the expectations and the challenges of having an extremely deep and talented roster.
“We’ve got a lot of new people that will definitely help with our depth as a team as a whole and get us to nationals,” Thomas said.
That road towards nationals begins for the Lady Bears tonight in front of the home crowd, and it may just give them the advantage they need.
“It’s nice and at home,” Harbour said. “Get them some experience, go through the routine of getting ready for a race and preparing for a race mentally. Get a good warm-up, good cool-down and go out and execute your race, and you feel like you do that, you take a positive.”
The Bear Twilight Invitational will be the only home meet for the Bears this season. It will begin with the Women’s 4K race at 7 p.m. and will be followed by the Men’s 6K race.