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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M cross country opens season without falter

The Aggies battled a cool drizzle in Baton Rouge on host LSU’s new cross country course to open their season.
With the men’s side taking home third place and the women’s side taking home fifth, Texas A&M cross country got a look at its biggest SEC competitors and battled for high finishes among the best in the conference.
Junior Eric Casarez led the pack in the 6,000-meter. With a 2:57.4 split around the 2,000-meter mark, Casarez stayed around the top three through much of the race before finishing at sixth overall.
“Eric ran very solid and competed with some of the best in the SEC,” A&M coach Wendel McRaven told 12thman.com. “He might’ve gotten a little aggressive early when [he] took the lead, but six weeks from now I think he’s going to be battling those guys for a title. He’s one of the top five to 10 guys in the conference and he’s a national-level guy. This is [a] good start for him.”
The rest of the A&M men’s top five finishers all placed within the top-25 with sophomore Teddy Radtke at 17, freshman Cooper Cawthra at 22, freshman Jonathan Chung at 24 and junior Gavin Hoffpauir at 25.
“We have a lot of young guys stepping up and filling roles of people who graduated or who are banged up right now,” Casarez told 12thman.com. “Once we all come full force we will perform better as a team. There is a lot to build off of from the first race of the season and we’re just excited for the opportunity to compete.”
Five members of the women’s team competed in the season opener, with several members out and in quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.
“Going into it, we knew the women were going to be shorthanded, and you never like to enter a boxing match with one hand tied behind your back,” McRaven told 12thman.com.
On the women’s side, the Aggies were paced in the 5,000-meter by two top-20 finishers. A duo of juniors, Abbey Santoro at 18th and Julia Black at 20th led A&M women’s team with 17:59.5 and 18:06.3 finishes, respectively.
“I was pleased with Abbey and Julia, they know where they have work to do,” McRaven told 12thman.com. “They didn’t get out very aggressively and that cost them a little. They kept closing on people throughout the race and that is good, but between now and six weeks from now they need to be able to get out a little more aggressively.”
Next, the Aggies will travel to the University of Missouri on Saturday, Oct. 3 to compete in the Gans Creek Classic.

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