Cross country runs strong performance in opening meet

CC guys running the race. Nathan De La Cerda | Multimedia Journalist

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

Baylor cross country enjoyed some pleasant running weather as they took second in the Bear Twilight Invitational on Friday afternoon, falling behind Texas in the both the women’s 4,000-meter and men’s 6,000-meter races at the Heart of Texas Soccer Complex.

Head coach Jon Capron was happy with the way his team ran, especially the freshmen.

“It’s kind of hard to see who’s running full strength, we sat a good number too, but I was really pleased,” Capron said. “I challenged the younger crew, ‘Hey if there’s a hole, I want you to just step into it, like, that’s your job today, at practice, every day.’ And the one’s that kind of took that on, you know they were brave.”

The Bears kept pace with the Longhorns, however. Senior Lindsay Walton finished third in the women’s race, only a couple seconds behind Texas’ Destiny Collins and Kathryn Gillespie. After finishing 16th in last year’s Bear Twilight, Walton recorded a personal best this year with a time of 13:36.4, over a minute faster than in 2018.

Walton said she wasn’t really worried about the competition from Texas until the race began, but that she knew she could keep up with them.

“I was just focusing on trying to get a good solid performance out of myself and trying just to feel good,” Walton said. “And then I saw them up there right out of the gate. They were running at a pace that I knew I could keep up with so I just figured I’d stay with them as long as I could, and they pulled away a little bit at the end, but yeah, it was a good little path for a long time.”

Capron said that the performance was a “big step” from Walton, who has steadily improved since walking onto the team as a freshman in 2016.

“Again, we don’t know who was at full gas, but for Lindsay to be running with Destiny Collins is a big deal. And it’s one of those cool stories, because a ton of that is just on her work ethic and getting it done over the summer. She’s definitely elevated herself.”

Sophomore Celia Holmes was the next Bear to cross the finish line in 13th place with a time of 14:10.2 and senior Haley Everroad took the 19th spot in 14:29.1.

With three runners in the top 20 spots, the Baylor women finished with 58 points. Texas scored 21 to take first and the University of Texas at Arlington finishing third with 99.

Junior Connor Laktasic led the Baylor men, also recording a personal-best time at 18:25.6 to finish 8th in the 6K. All five scoring runners on the men’s side finished in the top-14.

Redshirt sophomore TJ Sugg (18:38.9), freshman Ryan Hodge (18:44.9) and sophomore Ryan Day (18:45.9) took up the 10th, 11th and 12th spots while senior Matt Henderson came up in 18:57.0 for 14th place.

“We’ve had better depth than we’ve had the last couple years. It’s awesome to see those guys next to you and being able to see some green,” Laktasic said. “We trained through this race and so for us to be able to come and compete like we did is a great thing to see.”

The Bears will have a break next weekend before heading down to College Station for the Texas A&M Invitational on Sept. 13.