Cross Country (copy)

The Texas A&M cross country team will open road competition this Friday in Columbia, Missouri. 

The Texas A&M cross country team will travel to compete in the Gans Creek Classic hosted by the University of Missouri this Friday.

This will be the second invitational of the season for the Aggies, who are ranked No. 3 in the South Central Region. The meet will be held in Columbia, Missouri, on a new course recently built at Gans Creek Recreation Area. There will be 10 athletes competing in each race.

The women’s team will race the 6,000-meter starting at 5 p.m. while the men’s team will compete in the 8,000-meter race starting at 5:30 p.m.

A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven said this meet will be an opportunity to get the Aggies experience on the road.

“We'll take most of our top group that will be a big part of the SEC and NCAA crew,” McRaven told “Getting on the road, seeing a new course and some teams we don't see regularly, it will be good for us. It's good to learn that travel routine, so it isn't so unusual when we do it in the postseason."

The invitational will consist of 11 teams which include the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Drake, Illinois State, the University of Missouri, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, North Florida, Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, Southern Louisiana and Texas Tech.

In the Midwest Region, the Missouri women’s team ranks No. 5 while the men’s team ranks No. 9, followed by Drake at No. 12.

"It will be good to compete with Missouri," McRaven told "I think they were picked ahead of us in the SEC preseason poll, so it will be nice to see where we stack up against them in late September."

The A&M’s women’s team will consist of Julia Black, Rebecca Bonta, Ashley Driscoll, Megan Hopper, Ashton Hutcherson, Sarah Pia, Grace Plain, Mary Rodriguez, Abbey Santoro and Kelsie Warren.

Competing for Texas A&M’s men’s team will be Jon Bishop, Johnathon Blaine, Eric Casarez, Colton Colonna, Gavin Hoffpauir, Jackson Jett, Wes McPhail, Joel Potter, Zephyr Seagraves and Harrison Tillman.

"I'm excited to see Missouri's new course," McRaven told "Missouri came here the first year we had the full Texas A&M Invitational on the Watts course, so I'm happy to return the favor. It looks like a great setting, and it will be fun to be a part of the first meet ever held on that course. Just like our course, they hope to someday host the national championships there. It is great to see schools and communities investing in permanent cross country courses."

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