The Texas A&M cross country teams finished in the top 10 of the SEC Championships, with the men finishing fifth and the women finishing ninth in Lexington, Kentucky on Friday, Nov. 1.
The men’s team earned a 14-15-16 finish. Senior Jon Bishop finished 14th with a time of 23:23.7, followed by sophomore Eric Casarez in 15th with 23:24.5 and junior Zephyr Seagraves in 16th with 23:25.0.
Bishop had the second-fastest time by an Aggie in the SEC Championships, coming up short to Henry Lelei's 2012 championship time of 23:30.0.
“This was a very solid race for the men,” assistant coach Wendel McRaven told 12thman.com. “Bishop, Casarez, and Seagraves did a great job rolling together and moving up.”
The five other Aggies competing finished strong, with sophomore Wes McPhail completing the race in 47th with a time of 24:18.7. Harrison Tillman placed 65th in 24:40.5 and Colton Colonna placed 66th in 24:41.4. Gavin Hoffpauir and Joel Potter finished 82nd and 87th with 25:02.9 25:14.1 respectively.
“Being only 20 points out of third is a positive and gives us a carrot to chase in preparation for the regional meet in two weeks,” McRaven said. “Ultimately, we had too big of a gap from our No. 3 man to our fourth and fifth man. Wes McPhail and Gavin Hoffpauir were involved in a collision early in the race that resulted in Gavin losing his shoe and then stopping to put it back on."
On the women’s side, seniors Kelsie Warren and Ashley Driscoll led the team, finishing 11th and 12th. With Warren’s time of 20:40.5, she had a fifth-best effort for an Aggie runner in the SEC Championships, trailing former Aggies Hillary Montgomery’s 2014 record of 19:56.1, Karis Jochen’s 2014 and 2015 records of 19:59.2 and 20:00.8, and her own personal best of 20:25.0 in last year’s race.
"Warren and Driscoll ran like the senior leaders they are. They ran tough, poised races. They are running well when it matters," McRaven told 12thman.com.
Following Warren and Driscoll, sophomore Julia Black was the third Aggie runner in 51st with 21:27.9.
"We knew it was going to be a tight women's team race after the first two teams, but nobody likes to come out in the short end of it,” McRaven told 12thman.com. “Third place through ninth place was only separated by 30 points and fourth through ninth by 19 points. I told the women that that boils down to only a few seconds per runner. Those few seconds make a huge difference in how we feel walking away from the meet. We'll work on a few things and be ready in two weeks to take care of business at regionals."
Mississippi won on the men’s side, defeating Alabama for the title 35 to 90. On the women’s side, Arkansas won for the seventh consecutive year.
The Aggies will next race in the NCAA South Central Regional race on Nov. 15, at Agri Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas.