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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 ‘ready’ for conference championship meet

The+womens+cross+country+team+is+entering+nine+runners+in+the+SEC+Championship+meet.
Photo by Meredith Seaver

The women’s cross country team is entering nine runners in the SEC Championship meet.

The Texas A&M men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Baton Rouge for the second time this season to compete in the SEC Championships on Oct. 30.
“When we get to this time of the year, whether it’s the SEC, regional or national meet, the athletes that are there are ready to run their best race of the year when it matters the most,” A&M coach Wendel McRaven told 12thman.com.
On the men’s side, A&M will field a team without experience at the conference meet; with six of 10 runners making their SEC Championships debut.
“Sometimes ignorance is bliss,” McRaven told 12thman.com. “The majority of our team has no SEC meet experience so part of that is, ‘Hey, let’s just go in there and do what we’ve been doing all year.’ I will let them know it is a little bit different of a beast because we haven’t ran in a meet this year with more than seven teams. You just have to stay cool, keep your calm, focus on what you’re doing and not get overwhelmed by the moment.”
Redshirt junior Eric Casarez returns as A&M’s highest finisher, placing 15th in the SEC Championships last year. Casarez said his finish in 2019 has been in the back of his mind since.
“Last year I was disappointed with the way I raced at the SEC Championships,” Casarez told 12thman.com. “I like to take it as a great experience as my first year as an Aggie but now I have less pressure on myself. I’m more focused on myself, I had a great summer of training and a great start to the season despite a little bit of a setback.”
Casarez enters the SEC Championships after sitting out of the Gans Creek Classic and the Arturo Barrios Invitational meets due to a minor injury.
“I’ve stayed focused on the goal and I think if I compete at my best, I can run against anybody in this conference,” Casarez told 12thman.com. “I have faith that before I get out of here that I’m going to be an SEC Champion whether that is on the cross country course or on the track. I’m just taking it one year at a time, one meet at a time and control what I can control.”
On the women’s side, the Aggies enter the SEC Championships with a bit more experience, with seven of nine runners having previous SEC Championship meet experience.
“Our goal is to have the top three girls to lay down the foundation and put themselves in a position to run well and then we really need our four and five to step up,” McRaven told 12thman.com. “We have the talent and ability, we have about three or five girls that interchange in that fourth and fifth spot for us. That’s where our strength is going to be, what our one-to-five gap can be.”
Junior Julia Black had the highest finish for the A&M women at the Arturo Barrios Invitational, placing eighth overall.
“It’s hard going into a meet and knowing that the defending national champions are in the same race, we can’t put our focus on that,” Black told 12thman.com. “We can’t sell ourselves short because we are a good team and we want to finish better than we have in years past. Focusing on an overall team improvement from last season is our main goal.”
The SEC Championships will be aired on the SEC Network, with the women’s conference championship beginning at 9:05 a.m. and the men racing at 10 a.m.

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