XC meet Friday

By Lindsey Miner

Baylor’s cross-country team will kick off the 2012 season on Friday with the Bear Twilight Invitational at the Heart of Texas Soccer Complex in Waco.

The meet will begin at 7 p.m. with the Baylor women competing in the 4,000-meter loop, followed by the men’s 6,000-meter loop.

“It looks like it is going to be hot, but we are looking forward to running Friday night,” head coach Todd Harbour said.

The 2011 invitational reached a scorching 101 degrees, and the weather during this year’s meet is expected to be just as hot.

Baylor is set to host teams from Angelo State, Dallas Baptist, Tarleton State, TCU, Texas A&M and the SMU women.

The Baylor women are No. 1 and the men No. 13 in the NCAA Division I South Central Preseason Cross Country rankings.

Last year, the Baylor women took five of the top eight spots and claimed a victory over Texas State.

The men finished in second behind Texas A&M, capturing four of the top 11 spots.

Baylor has four young veterans who were key players in the 2011 Invitational. Sophomores Rachel Johnson, Bree Schrader, Erin Hegarty and Mariah Kelly helped the Lady Bears achieve victory.

On the men’s team, junior Taylor Jackson and sophomores Brad Miles, Derwin Graham and Alex Le Roux will also be returning this season.

Last year, Hegarty placed fourth in the season opener and finished first among Baylor runners at the Big 12 Championships with a No. 29 finish.

In the final meet of the season, Hegarty got 34th overall and second among the Baylor runners at the NCAA South Central Regional.

Johnson earned a second-place finish at the 2011 invitational, got 37th at the Big 12 Championships and had an All-Region performance of 19th at the NCAA South Central Regional.

From the men’s side, Miles got fourth at the 2011 invitational and then finished as the second-fastest Baylor runner at the meet and was the fastest man for the Baylor team at the NCAA South Central Regional.

The HOT Soccer Complex is located near the Waco Regional Airport at 6101 Airport Road.

The Bears will once again attend the UTA Season Opener on Sept. 9 in Arlington.