Women’s cross country headed to NCAA Championships

Baylor senior Maggie Montoya competes during the Baylor Twilight Invitational at the HOT Soccer Complex in Waco on Sept. 1, 2015. Montoya will compete on Saturday with Baylor in hopes for a shot at a NCAA National Championship. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Baylor Athletics

Jordan Smith | Sports Writer

The Baylor women’s cross country team looks to make its impact known to the nation at the 2016 NCAA Championships 10 a.m. Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind.

At the 2016 NCAA South Central Region Championship, the women’s cross country team obtained a second-place finish, earning them an automatic bid into the NCAA Championships. This is the 16th time in the program’s history that it makes an appearance at the NCAA Championships.

“It was a nice bounce-back week for us knowing that we had a little bit of a tough time at conference. I thought the ladies responded really well and just did a super job. They did what they needed to do. They took care of business and made sure we were at the NCAA meet,” said head coach Todd Harbour. “This group has definitely taken some pride in getting us back to the NCAAs. It is not an easy championship to make, and Rice ran really, really well. If we had not brought our A-game, we would not have been second.”

Sophomore runner Lindsey Bradley is in her first year with Baylor after she transferred from the University of Washington. Bradley definitely has a goal in mind for herself heading into nationals.

“I’m usually not one to voice my individual goals, but I would say that being an All-American would be super cool, and that just seems crazy to say just because I never thought I would be at that point this year,” Bradley said. “I just feel so blessed to have that opportunity and to be able to make that goal.”

Bradley finished third place in the regional meet, placing a time of 20:24.6 in the 6,000 meter race right behind senior long distance runner Maggie Montoya, who finished second with a time of 20:21.7 in the 6,000-meter race.

Harbour said he is looking forward to this national meet as well. He knows what they would like to do there, but he also knows what is a reasonable goal for the team to get.

“Reasonable I think is a top 10 finish. It’s very doable. We don’t have to run better than we do; we just need to run the way we did at Wisconsin and regionals,” Harbour said. “We were ranked 12, they dropped us to 25th and now we are back up to 23rd while teams that we beat twice are still ranked, 11th Notre Dame, we beat them twice on their home floors, and we beat a 10th-ranked San Francisco team twice in Wisconsin. So, in my mind, if those guys are that good and we beat them, we can beat them again.”