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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M men place third, women place fourth in cross country home opener

Junior+Gavin+Hoffpauir+was+the+first+Aggie+to+cross+the+finish+line.
Photo by Meredith Seaver

Junior Gavin Hoffpauir was the first Aggie to cross the finish line.

The Texas A&M cross country team competed in the third annual Arturo Barrios Invitational on Oct. 17 with the men’s team placing third and women’s team fourth.
The home-opening meet saw several of A&M’s in-state rivals from several different collegiate athletic conferences meet in College Station for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. A&M head coach Pat Henry said a difference in COVID-19 protocols between conferences created obstacles in preparing for the meet.
“Over the last 10 days there have been a few hitches in the road in preparing for this meet,” Henry told 12thman.com. “Having to deal with different testing protocols for each conference caused some obstacles, it’s something that needs to get better going forward, or the competition between conferences will be less likely to happen. It’s understandable to be concerned about everyone’s safety but to not all be on the same page is not a good situation.”
McRaven said it was good to be back on the Aggies’ home course after traveling for the first two meets of the season.
“It was great to host a meet,” assistant coach Wendel McRaven told 12thman.com. “I think this is one of the top 5 courses in the country and one of the best in the region. To have the opportunity to showcase it and allow teams to compete on it is always a positive. Every coach was appreciative and thanked me for having this meet.”
On the men’s side the Aggies were paced by junior Wes McPhail for much of the race before he was bumped off the trail around 3,500 meters and forced to drop out of the race. With McPhail out of the race due to this and junior Eric Casarez unable to enter the race due to injury, McRaven said the team’s finish was affected.
“Having Wes [McPhail] drop out midway through the race and not having Eric [Casarez] makes a difference in how we finish as a team,” McRaven told 12thman.com. “It’s a real young team and for the people that did line up, I told them that I’m really proud of this team.”
The men’s team had six runners place in the top 25, with junior Gavin Hoffpauir having the highest finish at 13th. A&M’s top-25 finishers were rounded out with freshman Joseph Benn placing 18th, freshman Tim McElaney at 19th, junior Jackson Jett at 20th, redshirt sophomore Brady Grant at 22nd and redshirt freshman Teddy Radtke at 24th.
“They’re getting there and figuring it out, it’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination yet but we’re getting there,” McRaven told 12thman.com. “If they can keep together and keep building that culture the way we want it then this can be a really pretty good group down the line.”
The A&M women were paced by a trio of juniors in Grace Plain, Abbey Santoro and Julia Black. Black had the highest finish for the Aggies at eighth, followed by Santoro at 12th and Plain at 13th.
“We’re not where we want to be but it was the best race of the year for them. Julia [Black], Grace [Plain] and Abbey [Santoro] ran very well, they closed really well,” McRaven told 12thman.com. “Rachel [Bernardo] is starting to come around, Laura [Fairchild] is right there and Katelyn [Buckley] has done a nice job as a walk-on freshman. A lot of people are showing progress and we had some positive steps, but we certainly are not where we want to be.”

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