Baylor XC teams finish top 10 in Big 12 Championship

Senior Ryan Hodge races in the Big 12 Championship meet in Stillwater, Okla. Hodge finished 22nd to help the men's team place sixth. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

Both the men’s and women’s Baylor cross country teams finished top 10 in the Big 12 Championship meet on Friday in Stillwater, Okla. Senior Ryan Hodge led the way for the men, who placed sixth, while sophomore Lily Jacobs helped the women place seventh.

Head coach David Barnett said he believes the teams could have placed higher, but was pleased with their efforts.

“We had some good things happen across the board,” Barnett said. “As a team, we would have liked to place higher, but I think by and large we relied on some young folks that stepped up and did their best. Overall, I was pleased with the effort of both teams. We had a few missed opportunities in the middle of the race that we can correct moving forward, but overall we had some good things happen.”

Hodge had a good race, as the veteran placed highest individually among all Baylor runners coming in 22nd with an 8K time of 25:29.2. Following Hodge was senior Ryan Day (26:13.8) in 37th and freshman Drew Snyder (26:49.0) in 50th. The team recorded 192 points, giving them sixth place.

“As a whole, the men did pretty well,” Barnett said. “Hodge had a big day obviously, and he was able to mix it up with some of the top guys in the conference. Ryan Day was super consistent for us. Drew Snyder was a little beat up coming into the weekend, but he toughed it out. On the back end, we had some guys that filled the void and did the best they could. Of course, we want the team finish to be higher moving forward, but we had some good things happen.”

Jacobs led the women as she ran the 6K in 22:44.1 to take 33rd place. Not far behind her was senior Ellie Friesen who ran a 22:58.5 to come in 37th. In her Bear debut, freshman Taylor Whitfield was the third-highest placed runner for the Baylor women and finished 51st with a personal best of 23:38.7. The women’s team totaled 208 points on the way to their seventh-place finish.

Barnett said the women’s race should have gone better, and the best for them is still to come.

“The women’s race went out really slow, and I think we missed the move potentially in some areas,” Barnett said. “By and large, people ran really good races. Taylor obviously stepped up as a true freshman and helped us fill the void. The women’s best race is still ahead of us. I think we have a lot left in us. I think at regionals, you’ll see continued improvement from them.”

Up next, Baylor will host the NCAA South Central Regional race at 10 a.m. on Nov. 12 at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course.

“We’re getting fit and getting sharp, we just have to race a little bit smarter,” Barnett said. “Wherever we want to finish, we have to put ourselves in that kind of position early on. We can’t just wait until the end of the race, hoping things come together. We have to make things happen.”