WACO, Texas - The Baylor men's and women's cross country teams will compete in the 21st-annual Big 12 Cross Country Championship Saturday at the Rawls Golf Course in Lubbock, Texas.
The conference meet kicks off at 10 a.m. CT with the women's 6,000-meter race. The men's 8,000-meter run will follow at 11 a.m. CT.
The top men's and women's teams will be crowned league champions, while the top 15 individuals in each race earn All-Big 12 honors.
The Baylor women are currently ranked No. 12 in the USTFCCCA's national coaches poll and are No. 2 in the South Central regional rankings. The Baylor men are fourth in the USTFCCCA's South Central regional rankings.
For the women, senior Maggie Montoya has been the top finisher for Baylor in all four of her races this fall. She took top individual honors at the Bear Twilight Invitational. In her last race, Montoya placed 11th at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.
Including Montoya, Baylor’s top five runners have been unchanged over the past two races, while placing fifth as a team at both the Notre Dame Invitational and the Wisconsin meet. The other four top runners for BU include, Washington transfer Lindsey Bradley, senior Peyton Thomas and freshmen Anna West and Gabby Satterlee.
"The women right now have some pretty high expectations,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “This is probably our best shot since I’ve been here to go after the title. If we do our race and take care of our business, it doesn’t matter what anybody else does at this point right now. I really believe we’ve exceeded what anybody thought we could do this year, but I still think we can do better.”
The rest of Baylor's allotment of runners includes Alison Andrews-Paul, Kathryn Foreman, Hana Marsheck, Aaliyah Miller and Madie Zimmerman.
The Baylor men will have 10 athletes in action led by junior Eric Anderson, who has been the top runner for the Bears in all three races this fall. As a team, BU has not raced since Sept. 30 at the Notre Dame Invitational, using the past month exclusively for training.
"Mostly for our guys, since we’ve had such a long layoff, they’re anxious to get going," assistant head coach Jon Capron said. "They have responded to being pushed. The Big 12 is a little more open than it’s been and I’m bringing a good team to this meet.”
Behind Anderson, seniors Jordan West and Matt League, junior Matt Parham and freshman Devin Meyrer have been Baylor’s scoring runners over the past two races, which included a team victory at the Ken Garland Invitational on Sept. 17.
BU’s other five runners making the trip, include Matt Henderson, Henry Huff, Jeff Kirwin, Sean McCullough and Sam Sahli.
Baylor will look to improve on last season's seventh-place men's and eighth-place women's showings. Individually in 2015, Montoya collected her second-straight All-Big 12 honor by placing fifth. Thomas is the women’s only other returner from BU’s group of five scoring a year ago. Meanwhile, the men have three of their five scoring runners from 2015 returning, including Anderson, Parham and League.
Saturday's meet will feature a total of five teams ranked in the USTFCCCA top 30. The men's race, led off by No. 9 Oklahoma State and No. 13 Iowa State with Texas receiving votes. Following the Lady Bears at No. 12 on the women’s side are Iowa State at No. 15 and Oklahoma State at No. 18, while West Virginia, Texas and Kansas are all receiving votes.
Texas Tech will be hosting the event for the second time, after lasting hosting it in 2007. The last time the meet was in Lubbock, the Baylor women were fourth, while the men were 12th.
Following the Big 12 meet, the Bears will travel to the NCAA South Central Regional Championships, with their top seven runners in action Nov. 11 in Fayetteville, Ark.
To stay current on all things Baylor cross country, follow the team on Twitter: @BaylorTrack.