Baylor cross country hopes for quick start to 2022 season

Baylor cross country hopes to start the season soon. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics.

By George Schroeder | LTVN Executive Producer

After two weeks of practice back together, Baylor cross country will start their season Thursday in Round Rock at the Concordia Tornado Watch Invitational.

The season opening race is a 5K, contrary to the 8K distance the team is used to during the season. Head coach David Barnett said he wants to use this shorter distance to gauge if the team is around its desired pace.

“Ideally, if you can run [a] 5k at the pace you ultimately want to [in] an 8k, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Barnett said. “The immediate goal is [that] we want to do better than we did last year. I’m sure we will.”

Improvement is priority number one, but training isn’t the only way the team wants to reach its goals. Sophomore Hayden Gold said even with only two weeks of practice under its belt, the team is tighter in not only splits, but in camaraderie, too.

“The split from the first one or the fifth runner in terms of scoring will probably be a lot closer this year than in years past,” Gold said. “In workouts, we have a much bigger group training together. We’re split into two groups and the travel squad is really working well together. We’re very cohesive.”

Barnett said he was confident in the team’s summer training. He said the runners are prepared to work hard and train, which gives them more options as Big 12 competition approaches with the Texas Tech Opener on Sept. 17 in Lubbock.

“When we get back, we’re [a few] weeks from conference,” Barnett said. “We don’t have time for pep talks and [just] hoping things go well. I’ve been really pleased so far.”

Barnett added two transfer students this year, junior Jackie Addy and graduate student Alia Henderson. The two new additions are expected to fill in a thin class and bring experience to the team.

“They’re mature people, they’re mature runners,” Barnett said. “They know what’s important, what’s not important now, and they really get it. They’re going to be good leaders for us.”

While Barnett said he is looking for maturity and leadership from the upperclassmen, Gold said there was no negative sense of superiority between the classes.

“We’re a big team, we’re going to support each other no matter what,” Gold said. “Even if some of the underclassmen are outperforming the upperclassmen, everyone’s there to see each other do as well as they can.”

The team’s culture is sticking with the coaching staff as well.

“It’s contagious,” Barnett said. “When you’re racing, it makes it easier to fight for each other. It’s hard to quit when you have a lot invested, and you feel like you’re in this together with people.”

Barnett said almost all of their runners will be competing in the meet, with exception to graduate student Ellie Hodge and sophomore Taylor Whitfield on the women’s side.

The Bears will compete Thursday in Round Rock beginning with the men’s team at 7:30 a.m. and the women’s team at 8:00 a.m.

George Schroeder
George Schroeder is a senior at Baylor University majoring in journalism. Currently the only student on his 4th year with the Lariat, he is the executive producer for Lariat TV News, he has worked as the managing editor, a broadcast reporter and an anchor for the program. In 2022 he was named the Baylor Department of Student Media’s “Broadcaster of the Year” and the inaugural winner of the Rick Bradfield Award for Breaking News Coverage. During his time with the Lariat, he has served as a member of the Editorial Board, a sportswriter and an opinion writer. He is a contracted cadet in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and will commission as an officer into the United States Air Force after graduation in 2024.