XC takes a step in the right direction in Gans Creek Classic

Baylor cross country sophomore Lily Jacobs and senior Ellie Friesen race in the Gans Creek Classic in Columbia, Mo. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor

Baylor cross country competed in the Gans Creek Classic in Columbia, Mo. Friday in a day filled with personal bests for the Bears. Sophomore Lily Jacobs and senior Ellie Friesen led the women’s team to an eighth-place finish, while senior Ryan Hodge and freshman Drew Snyder placed the men’s team to 11th place.

“Overall, the team places weren’t what I was hoping for,” head coach David Barnett said. “I think the top three people on both sides competed really well.”

In the women’s 6K race, Jacobs ran a time of 21:43.2 to finish in 24th place, followed closely by Friesen whose personal best time of 21:45.2 earned her 26th. Freshman Hayden Gold finished 53rd with a personal best time of 22:35.1 while senior Celia Holmes finished with a time of 22:50.4 to place 65th. Freshman Jordan Ledington rounded out the scoring for the Bears, running a career best time of 22:58.1 to take 73rd.

“On the women’s side, I thought the top people did really well,” Barnett said. “I was proud of how Ellie and Lily, in particular, fought, and I thought it was a step in the right direction for several people. Obviously, 6,000 is tough for some of the freshmen, but they are getting used to it. It’s a difficult course, and that’s why we came here. Some people competed the way I wanted, and some people’s eyes are open, but I think we’ll be better for it moving forward. Definitely looking forward to the Texas A&M race in two weeks.”

Hodge led the way in the men’s 8K, finishing 30th with a personal best time of 24:43.8. Snyder clocked a career best time of 24:53.7 to place 38th, while senior Ryan Day finished 52nd in his season debut with a personal best time of 25:06.2. Senior Philip Roxas placed 113th with a career best time of 26:02.6 and freshman Chris Martinez took 134th with a time of 26:37.5 to complete the scoring for Baylor.

“On the men’s side, Ryan Hodge and Drew Snyder both getting under 25 minutes for the first time on a really tough course was impressive,” Barnett said. “For his first race of the season, Ryan Day competed really well. I think the men’s team will continue to improve.”

The Bears have one more race before the Big 12 Championships as they will compete in the Arturo Barrios Invitational on Oct. 16 in College Station.

“[Texas] A&M is a totally different type of course,” Barnett said. “It’s definitely a faster course. This race, some people were going out conservatively and trying to move up over the second half. But now, going into A&M, we really need to get after it, stick our nose in there and compete. We have to set the tone for the conference meet, and A&M is going to be a big race with 30 plus teams. It will be a great opportunity to keep making progress, getting ready for the conference championships, because that’s what it’s ultimately about is the Big 12s.”