Baylor cross country opens season with a pair of top-five finishes

Senior Ryan Hodge placed fifth in the men's 5K Wednesday at the Aggie Opener at Dale Watts Cross Country Course in College Station. Photo credit: Baylor Athletics

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

Baylor cross country started their season Wednesday night at the Aggie Opener at the Dale Watts Cross Country Course in College Station. Two seniors led the way with impressive finishes. Ellie Friesen finished fourth in women’s 4.1-kilometer race with a time of 14:29.7 and Ryan Hodge finished fifth in men’s 5-kilometer race with a time of 15:47.0.

Friesen competed in her first race as a Bear after transferring from South Dakota State University, and earned the praise of cross country head coach David Barnett.

“Ellie did a great job,” Barnett said. “She made the most of her opportunity and she looked really good.”

The rest of the women had good showings as well. Freshman Hayden Gold ran a 14:53 finishing No. 12, and senior Celia Holmes finished No. 19, running a 15:10.4. At No. 23 and No. 25 were freshmen Devon Vopni with a time of 15:16.8 and Catherine Urbani with 15:19.6. The women’s team finished third overall with a total of 81 points.

The men’s team also did well placing fourth in the men’s 5K with 105 points. Hodge led the team at 15:47.0, followed by freshman Drew Snyder at 16:04.2 finishing No. 10. At No. 19 was senior Philip Roxas with a time of 16:25.1. Coach Barnett said the team did “really well” handling a 45-minute weather delay as well as having to adjust to the race being shortened from a 6K to a 5K.

“Ryan did really well; he stuck his nose in there and competed and beat a lot of good people,” Barnett said.

Barnett said he is looking forward to the rest of the season and plugging in his best five.

“We still haven’t put together our whole top five yet,” Barnett said. “When we put together our whole team – when it matters – we’ll have a really good result.”

Baylor cross country’s next race is Sept. 18 at the ACU Invitational in Abilene.

“It will be a good opportunity to step up to the next thing and see where we stand,” Barnett said. “I’m looking forward to it. I think some of the folks are going to have a really strong result.”