A&M set to defend team titles at Rice Invitational on Friday
With the cross country course located on the intramural fields near the Rice football stadium, the starting line will be off of Alumni Drive.
The Aggies, currently ranked No. 3 for the men and women among the South Central region, will face a field that includes host Rice, Houston, Houston Baptist, Lamar, McNeese, Prairie View A&M, SFA, Sam Houston, TCU, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, Texas Southern, and Texas State.
“The meet at Rice will give us a chance to really see where we are at this time of the year,” noted Texas A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven. “We will run a full squad and see where we stack up against some solid regionally ranked teams. On both sides I think this meet is exactly what we need this time of year. It is a good competitive field that will test us.”
Texas A&M is the top ranked region team in the field. Lamar men rank No. 4 right behind the Aggies followed by No. 5 McNeese, No. 6 Rice, No. 7 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, No. 8 SFA, and No. 11 Houston.
Among the women’s field following No. 3 Texas A&M are No. 7 Lamar, No. 8 TCU, No. 9 Rice, No. 11 SFA, and No. 14 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Texas A&M swept the team titles at Rice a year ago. The leading returners for the Aggies include Sophie Blake, the runner-up in the women’s race, and Isaac Spencer, who placed fifth in the men’s race.
The Aggie women will travel with a squad of 19 runners. In addition to Blake the group will include season debuts for Grace Fletcher, Amanda Jenkins, Karis Jochen, Hillary Montgomery, Gabby Salazar, and Eva Vigh.
Spencer headlines a crew of 15 runners for the A&M men as he makes his season debut with Elliott Farris, Xavier Jimenez, Ryan Miller, Ryan Teel, Cameron Villarreal, and Austin Wells.
“The athletes have been training hard and a race this time of year is a reward and a chance to see their work paying off,” said McRaven. “It’s really another step in our progression towards November.
“I’m really excited to see us in a race environment. On the women’s side we have a great combination of experience and youth. Overall the men are very young, but talented. It will be fun to see how both teams progress throughout the year.”