Texas A&M cross country opened its season Friday at the Texas A&M Invitational.
The meet would have been the second of the season. However, inclement weather led to the cancelation of the Aggie Opener on Aug. 31, making Friday the season opener.
The men’s and women’s team entered the meet ranked No. 3 based on their performance during the preseason. Thirty-one Aggies competed Friday morning against Baylor, SMU, A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas-Rio Grande Valley, the University of Texas at San Antonio and West Texas A&M.
The women’s team competed in the 5,000m race, placing first with a score of 18, followed by Baylor in second with a score of 53 and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in third with a score of 97.
Aggies Kelsie Warren (17:27.6) and Ashley Driscoll (17:50.8) led the team in first and second place. They were followed by Ashton Hutcherson (18:31.9) in 4th, Abbey Santoro (18:33.5) in 5th, and Julie Black (18:31.9) in 6th. Together they brought home a team title in their first meet of the season.
“Today I really just wanted to get out there and feel smooth,” Warren told 12thman.com. “I’m really excited to see where my team is going this season. Ashley is right there with me and I’m excited to see what the rest of the girls can really do.”
McRaven was impressed with how his team had performed even praised their work that led to their overwhelming victory.
“Kelsie and Ashley went out pretty aggressively,” McRaven told 12thman.com. “The second group of girls at one point had six runners together. For us to put five in the top six meant they closed really well over the second half of the race. That’s impressive and a testament to the work they’ve done and the culture they are trying to build.”
The men’s team competed in the 8,000m race. They placed first with a score of 50, followed by West Texas A&M in second with a score of 66 and Baylor in third with a score of 67.
Sophomore Wes McPhail placed third with a time of (24:52.5) which led the Aggies to a team title. Finishing behind him were Jackson Jett in 9th (25:16.2), Zephyr Seagraves in 11th (25:21.0), Colton Colonna in 12th (25:24.2), Johnathon Blaine in 15th (25:37.8) and Gavin Hoffpauir in 16th (25:39.2).
“The goal coming out here every meet is to get better,” McPhail told 12thman.com. “We work on things in a race that we can’t get in a practice session. The team came out here and competed well. We had some good competition, even with a Division II team who can’t be taken lightly since they have some really good athletes. We have a lot of new guys who will immediately contribute to this program and get us to the next level in conference and regional competitions.”
McRaven said he was impressed by McPhail and newcomer Jett’s performances in the meet.
“Wes is a sophomore and it was good to see him step up and continue to progress from what we saw last year,” McRaven told 12thman.com. “Jackson Jett is a new guy, who stuck his nose in there and is still figuring some things out.”
The A&M cross country team’s next meet will be held at the University of Missouri on Friday, Sept. 27 for the Missouri Invitational.