WACO, Texas Ė For the eighth time in the last nine seasons, Baylor will play host to the NCAA South Central Cross Country Regional on Saturday morning at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco, Texas.
The menís 10,000-meter race will kick off the day at 10 a.m., followed by the womenís 6,000-meter event at 11:15. An awards ceremony will follow the morningís events near the CCGC clubhouse.
As part of the South Central Region, the Bears will host teams from Arkansas, Louisiana and the eastern half of Texas with two automatic team bids to the NCAA Championships on the line. The University of Texas and the University of Arkansas rank first and second, respectively, in both the menís and womenís regional rankings entering the weekend.
On the menís side, Baylor is ranked 11th and coming off a ninth-place finish at the Big 12 Championships two weeks ago. The Bears will look to improve on a fourth-place regional finish from last season with the leadership of senior Zac Flowers and sophomore Brad Miles.
Flowers has been Baylorís top finisher in four of six meets this season, while Miles was the top Bear across the line in the other two meets. At the Big 12 Championships, Flowers led Baylor with a 56th-place finish, while Miles was next across the line one spot back. Baylor will also look for depth from junior Blake Niccum, sophomores Taylor Jackson and Jonathan Tijerina, as well as freshman Derwin Graham.
The Baylor women also enter the weekend ranked 11th in the region, while finishing 10th at the Big 12 Championships their last time out. Freshmen Erin Hegarty and Rachel Johnson have been bright spots for the Lady Bears this season, while senior Cate Westenhover provides the most experience. Hegarty and Westenhover have each been the top BU finisher in two meets this season, while Johnson also took top Baylor honors once.
In each of the last two meets, the conference championships and NCAA Pre-Nationals, Hegarty has paced the team. At the league meet, she finished 29th, followed by Johnson in 37th. The Bears will also rely on senior Kristen Hanselka and sophomore Robyn Bennett. Both Westenhover and Bennett qualified individually for the NCAA Championships last season at the regional meet.
Complete results and a recap of the meet will be available on www.BaylorBears.com following the event.